Insider threats pose a persistent security risk to the enterprise today. According to the “IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2018,” inadvertent insiders were responsible for more than two-thirds of total records compromised last year. Furthermore, insider attacks can have a devastating financial impact on affected organizations: Ponemon Institute estimated that the average cost of insider threats per year is more than $8 million.

So what are the risk factors that enable insider threat vulnerability? One report from CSO Online identified excessive access privileges, endpoint access and information technology complexity as the primary drivers. In addition, organizations are in a constant state of flux throughout the year as they start, finish or abandon projects and initiatives; bring in new employees, contractors and suppliers; and alter the data stored on various systems. It only gets more complex as people change roles or leave over time.

How Can Organizations Reduce the Risk of Insider Threats?

So how can security teams set up and maintain appropriate user access privileges for sensitive resources such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, which are used to store critical business, personal and financial data? How can they ensure that a user’s entitlements map correctly to the role he or she manages within the organization? Finally, how can security professionals enforce and demonstrate compliance with industry regulations and business policies that protect data privacy and integrity?

First, it’s important to understand that it is not possible to reduce the risk of insider threats to zero; by giving anyone access to your enterprise systems, there is a chance you will suffer a loss. But you can reduce the threat by having the right controls and systems in place. One such control is the segregation of duties (SOD) management process. SOD is a primary internal control that assures that no single individual has control over all phases of a business transaction. This helps to decrease the risk of errors and identify and resolve issues quickly.

Learn How One Small Town Official Embezzled Millions

Britta Simms, global systems, applications and products (SAP) competency lead with IBM Security, recently joined Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, certified public accountant (CPA) and forensic accounting expert, for an hourlong interactive discussion and Q&A session titled “Royal Fraudsters and How to Spot Them.” Pope is the director of award-winning Netflix documentary “All the Queen’s Horses,” which is an exposé of how one woman got away with a massive embezzlement scheme that went undetected for nearly two decades.

Watch the complete on-demand webinar to understand how this remarkable case of fraud played out, how it could have been prevented and how to secure your company from insider threats.

Watch the on-demand webinar: Royal Fraudsters and How to Spot Them

More from Identity & Access

Passwords, passkeys and familiarity bias

5 min read - As passkey (passwordless authentication) adoption proceeds, misconceptions abound. There appears to be a widespread impression that passkeys may be more convenient and less secure than passwords. The reality is that they are both more secure and more convenient — possibly a first in cybersecurity.Most of us could be forgiven for not realizing passwordless authentication is more secure than passwords. Thinking back to the first couple of use cases I was exposed to — a phone operating system (OS) and a…

Obtaining security clearance: Hurdles and requirements

3 min read - As security moves closer to the top of the operational priority list for private and public organizations, needing to obtain a security clearance for jobs is more commonplace. Security clearance is a prerequisite for a wide range of roles, especially those related to national security and defense.Obtaining that clearance, however, is far from simple. The process often involves scrutinizing one’s background, financial history and even personal character. Let’s briefly explore some of the hurdles, expectations and requirements of obtaining a…

From federation to fabric: IAM’s evolution

15 min read - In the modern day, we’ve come to expect that our various applications can share our identity information with one another. Most of our core systems federate seamlessly and bi-directionally. This means that you can quite easily register and log in to a given service with the user account from another service or even invert that process (technically possible, not always advisable). But what is the next step in our evolution towards greater interoperability between our applications, services and systems?Identity and…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today