Preventing Insider Data Breach in Cloud-Run Work Systems

Marketing Team Cloud Security Expert - CloudCodes Software
  • September 15th, 2020

Statistics – Insider Data Breach Threats

It is no secret that the most common factor for most of the data breaches taking place in an enterprise is that of an insider threat. More than 40% of the breaches occur due to risks from within an organization as per the estimates. If the unofficial figures or the unreported ones go by, this figure can rise to an astonishing 75% or more. Any breach by a criminal organization or nation-state attacker receives more coverage than the insider breaches, which is why they do not make headlines. But security experts believe that insider data breach has more far-reaching effects due to the low detection capabilities and the high potential impact. 

Means, Motives, And Opportunities

Insider data breaches may be intentional or unintentional. An employee may upload sensitive data on a public domain by mistake. Even a poorly designed cloud security protocol may lead to the accidental revealing of confidential data in an enterprise. Then there is this case of a disgruntled employee, who might be making attempts to gain access to any target system and download all the information either on his device or on his account on the cloud without leaving any physical trace. Also, there are possibilities that an insider may be persuaded through extortion or for financial gains to obtain information or help gain backdoor entry into the data system. 

Why Is This Concern Particularly for Cloud Platforms?

One of the most significant advantages of using the cloud platform is its virtually unlimited accessibility that exactly turns out to be its nemesis also. With the help of weak credentials or improper blacklisting of sources, an insider can access sensitive data through the internet. Also, an account that has been left behind by a previous employee and has to be deleted by the admin can be a potential source of an insider data breach without the need for physical network access.  

Thus, an account lifecycle management becomes imperative to an enterprise when the data they hold is more in volume and significant. Scalability and flexibility are the precise reason why enterprises shift their data to cloud services. And these communicate with each other through the application program interface (API) key.  

It serves not only for identification purposes but also to secure data through complex passwords. Changing of an API key need that all the associated systems are integrated simultaneously. Since this task is tedious, the API keys are kept unchanged for more-than-necessary periods. It gives an admin who will be leaving the enterprise with full access to the service until the API keys are not changed. So, API key management is vital to prevent an insider data breach in an enterprise. 

Insider Data Breach Detection Mechanisms

Machines make use of behavior analytics to inspect data for any irregular or suspicious user behavior. Proper security protocols can be customized and designed to alert the admin when there is a sudden download of a lot of sensitive data or when there is data sharing between multiple systems within short periods. Data loss prevention or Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions help the transferred files be scanned for keywords, content, and classifications. Based on the configuration policies, the system can inspect, alert, block, alter, or delete sensitive data from leaving the database and the network within an enterprise, thus preventing an insider data breach. CASB solutions provided by known Cloud Access Security Brokers have such cloud security protocols. 

Ways to Prevent an Insider Data Breach

As in all classic cases, prevention is essentially better than cure. But the unpredictability of human behavior imposes challenges in maintaining data securityThus, policy enforcement that incorporates permission reviews, separation of duties, least privilege, regular account reviews, API keys management, etc. are especially critical when dealing with insider threats. CASB solutions, when deployed, can impose some restrictions and policies, whose violations are reported so that immediate actions can be taken to prevent the harms of insider data breaches. 

Concluding Remarks

Insider threat is a grave problem and has to be addressed without neglecting every enterprise’s security aspect. Proper detection systems have to be in place, and the right access has to be provided to the right people so that there is creative and not destructive work in an enterprise. Such a security cocoon can be availed by deploying efficient CASB solutions.