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The U.S. Army recently announced an initiative called “People First,” a strategy that calls for enacting widespread policy directives and changes designed to better support the health and well-being of the largest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.
It’s not difficult to be skeptical about an idea like this for an organization known for its long trips away from their home. It emphasizes that even large companies need to care for their employees. This not only results in happier, more productive, and loyal employees but also reduces a major cybersecurity risk to companies: the insider threat.
Similar: Cybersecurity for Business Leaders
Insider Threats to Employees
What causes employees to become insider threats and why? Many reasons exist, each one being unique. Some employees do this to obtain valuable trade secrets, others to retaliate for company firings, while some may be disgruntled workers. Others are simply negligent workers that fall for phishing attacks or were harmed by a data breach but didn’t report it. There are 3 main reasons why formerly trusted employees could become insider threats.
The most common reason an employee would become an insider threat, is financial gain. Both the public and private sectors can use this motivation. Public sector employees may be unhappy with their pay or working environment. They might sell personal information on the dark internet.
Employees in the private sector often have access valuable intellectual property, trade secret or customer data. Organized crime groups or competitors might pay top dollars for these items. Or they may be coerced into becoming agents for a foreign country-state. Particular concern is the technologically-savvy IT employees, who can grant themselves higher access rights to secure their tracks from cybersecurity.
Companies should be on alert for signs that employees suddenly have more income. This is especially true if the purchases are not in line with their salary.
Similar: Twelve Simple Ways to Make Your Online Security More Secure
Employees can also become insider threats by being motivated by politics. An employee may be unhappy with their job or title, but cannot see how to improve it due to inter-office politics. The employee could become disgruntled, and even want to take revenge against the company. Enterprise-level companies are prone to this situation, as management often doesn’t spend the time to understand their staff or respond to their needs. Potential political issues can be mitigated by creating an environment that allows employees to reach their potential, and allowing them to communicate with their command chain.
These issues are closely related to professional ones. Employees might feel let down after they are not promoted or are the subject of an investigation into misconduct. They might also find that they are the victim of misconduct from a boss or peer, and could decide to do their thing.
Employees can be emotional beings. Sometimes employees feel bored or burnt out, and that their work doesn’t meet certain needs. They could become depressed and even dangerous insiders through their negligence.
Stress can also negatively affect employees as demonstrated by the pandemic. Vast numbers of employees working from home, dealing with stress from a new environment, uncertainty and fear made Americans more susceptible to online scams, which unfortunately affected businesses.
What can you do to make your employees and yourself feel safe?
Companies should take security seriously to protect themselves from insider threats. Insider threats can only be posed by employees who have access to information that is not available to outsiders. It can prove extremely risky for a business to allow a motivated, tech-savvy employee into the company’s network. Insider threats are often started by employees who feel outside the organization. Leaders have tools to assist.
To gauge the mental health of their employees, companies should seek out professional help. Although these don’t have to be formal evaluations but rather periodic surveys and anonymous comments could give valuable insight into employees’ morale. It is important for leaders to remain engaged with employees and not ask pointed questions that could lead them to believe they are being targeted.
High morale employees are less likely to become threats. Managers and leaders need to adopt a mentality that places their employees first and keeps them safe. This can keep your enterprise safe, and give you some peace of mind.
Publiated at Mon, 23 August 2021 16:13.47 +0000