By Nihal Sequeira, EMEA Corporate Executive, Nuix                  

In addition, businesses that directly use the internet to save, store and manage data are particularly exposed to the threat of attackers. After a year when the number of cybercrimes has increased globally by triple digits, businesses have never felt more pressure to protect themselves against the evolving threat of cyber criminals. Meanwhile, a 2020 Forrester report has shown that instances of Insider Threats are growing and accounts for 43% of all organisational data breaches - posing a financial, regulatory, and reputational risk.

Why should businesses care about Insider Threats?

The concept of an Insider Threat holds different meanings to people and businesses. By large, it is recognised as a person working inside an organisation who maliciously tampers with its internal systems and security, causing danger and harm to the organisation. Insider threats often know how their organisation's system is configured and have easy access, unlike external attackers who have to breach the firewall and then familiarise themselves with its system. 

While the impact of external threats can be extremely damaging, businesses sometimes overlook the challenge that Insider Threats present to organisations. Insider threats can have motivations that fall into several broad categories, including financial gain, career advancement, espionage and revenge. Insider security breaches can cost organisations significant sums, in large part due to a lack of detection, slow responses following attacks, and inconsistent remediation. Over time, as breaches go undetected, an organisation's precious assets can be leaked, including money, intellectual property and sensitive information. Therefore, businesses must identify Insider Threats and question their stances to combat them. 

To properly manage the risks of Insider Threats, there must occur a shift in how they are perceived throughout the business. Often, Insider Threats are deemed an afterthought, with businesses investing more heavily in protection from external attackers. Insider Threats and destructive employee behaviours are detrimental to any organisation. Overall, they cost billions of pounds in damages. Internal actors violate codes of personal conduct, engaging in actions dealing with harassment and discrimination - particularly with the rise in home working. As well as performing malicious activity including IP theft, PII breaches, and misuse of funds. 

The impact of Insider Threat

Insider threats are more than a cybersecurity issue: Business, financial and reputational interests are massively at stake. An example of the impact that Insider Threat can have on businesses was recorded in 2018, where it was found that organisations lost an estimated £5.2 billion due to occupational fraud alone, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Further, an Insider Threat survey found that the mean cost of a single incident was £6.4 million, proving that this matter must be aptly addressed by business, with adequate prevention and remediation strategies, to avoid further losses. 

We at Nuix are an investigative analytics and intelligence software provider and found that existing data processing and investigative tools may not meet significant technical, functional and speed requirements to handle increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. While the attacks continue to grow and adapt in line with technological advancements, staying ahead of the curve by adopting new systems can significantly reduce the exhaustive and crippling effects of overcoming malicious actors.  

Identifying Insider Threats through digital forensics

In order to tackle Insider Threats, organisations can harness digital forensics to manage the risks that they present. To address insider threats, companies must focus on end-user activities, leveraging data, rules and automation, and providing the endpoint agent with sufficient intelligence to automatically decide whether a combination of user behaviours warrants alerting. Organisations can then flag potentially relevant events for broader analysis or even leading to harsher actions, such as blocking processes or quarantining systems.

The key to combating Insider Threats is rapid detection. When combined with the ability to block certain user behaviours that are considered risky, this can increase businesses' power to prevent insider-driven breaches and compromises. Many companies continue to look towards automation within digital forensic collection, processing and case creation to respond to alerts.

When considering the burden placed on expert investigators to perform routine deployment, data acquisition, transfers, and repetitive configuration tasks, automation is key. Digitised forensic tools facilitate these processes, making them more efficient and flexible, allowing human teams to tackle specific cases more in-depth. In addition, such tools, including those based on artificial intelligence (AI) powered models, automation, and workflows, can also be employed in managing risks of regulatory non-compliance, thus protecting businesses on that front. 

Digital tools that alert businesses on suspicious insider activities may also be implemented as remediation processes following investigations. The adoption of these technologies allows for a cost-efficient and timely conclusion to investigations, regulatory enquiries and litigation.               

Supporting businesses across the UK and EMEA                   

To help businesses combat the growing wave of Insider Threats and cybercrime, we've partnered with BSI, a business improvement and standards company, to support organisations across the UK and EMEA.

We support businesses with processing large volumes of unstructured data. We migrate, understand and interpret data to aid internal investigations, regulatory compliance and prevent data breaches. We do this by using a cloud-based eDiscovery solution that can review, analyse, and predict coding in one software solution to help uncover critical details faster and integrate them into a strategy for litigation and regulatory cases.

This reduces time spent on document review thanks to visual analytics tools and enables companies to conduct their investigations in a far more streamlined process than if it was conducted manually. 

For more information visit Nuix