August 19, 2015 By Veronica Shelley 2 min read

Here’s a question for you: What threat do you consider the greatest risk to your data’s security? Malware? A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack?

Would you believe the answer should be your own users? That’s right: According to the “IBM 2015 Cyber Security Intelligence Index,” over half of data breaches are caused by insiders, including employees, third-party contractors and partners — basically anyone who can access your organizational assets. Insider threats are a clear and present danger in today’s open enterprise.

Not surprisingly, the most damaging breaches are caused by malicious insiders with criminal intent, especially privileged users who can view and steal an organization’s most sensitive information, usually without detection. However, the IBM study pointed out that over 95 percent of insider threats are caused by human error. Examples include mishandling of confidential information, falling for a spear phishing campaign or having inappropriate access to protected data and applications. These risks can be often be mitigated through stricter policy controls and improved user education, but stronger and smarter security solutions are also required.

Michelle Alvarez, a threat researcher and editor for IBM Managed Security Services, has written the thought-provoking report “Battling Security Threats From Within Your Organization,” which delves into the reality of insider threats and what you can do about it. The report discusses the methods and motivations behind insider breaches, as well as a number of solutions and best practices that can help minimize the risk.

For example, products that monitor user behavior and provide anomaly detection are vital to identifying misuse and suspicious activities. Focusing on access management and, more specifically, privileged identity management (PIM) is an important step toward preventing internal data breaches and maintaining control over users. The paper provides recommendations and mitigation techniques you can use to thwart insider threats and minimize the damage they cause.

Want to learn more? Watch the informative on-demand webinar titled “The Danger Within: How to Win Against Insider Threats.” in which Michelle discusses her research findings and the implications for your organization. Robin Cohan, a product manager with IBM Security Identity Management products, explains how a privileged identity manager can arm you against insider threats. You’ll gain fresh insight into how to better protect your sensitive data from security breaches while still allowing users to access the resources they need to get the job done.

Read the full research report: Battling Security Threats From Within Your Organization

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