Stop Insider Threats in Their Tracks: How SSPM Helps

Learn more about how to stop insider threats in their tracks and how SSPM helps accomplish this in the article below. ...
Stop Insider Threats in Their Tracks: How SSPM Helps
Written by Brian Wallace
  • Cybersecurity concerns often focus on external attacks, but a significant threat lurks within your organization: insider threats. Employees, contractors, or even former staff with authorized access can become unintentional or malicious risks. This article explores how SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) empowers you to combat insider threats and safeguard your organization’s data and resources.

    The Rise of SaaS and the Evolving Insider Threat Landscape

    The proliferation of SaaS applications has transformed how businesses operate. Their ease of use and accessibility are undeniable advantages. However, this very ease can create security vulnerabilities.  Employees can readily connect various SaaS applications, potentially bypassing established security protocols and creating a “shadow IT” network. This network operates outside the IT department’s control, increasing the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.

    Furthermore, the rise of negligent insider incidents adds another layer of complexity. These incidents involve unintentional data leaks or lax security practices by authorized users. Imagine a marketing team member or any other employee uploading customer data to a public cloud storage platform for easy access by collaborators, completely unaware of the security risks involved.

    The increasing prevalence of both shadow IT and negligent insider behavior necessitates a proactive approach to mitigating insider threats.

    Understanding Insider Threats: A Spectrum of Risk

    Insider threats come in two main forms:

    • Negligent Insiders: These individuals lack proper security awareness or prioritize convenience over security protocols. They might share sensitive data on unauthorized platforms, reuse weak passwords, or fail to report suspicious activity.
    • Malicious Insiders: These individuals deliberately misuse their access for personal gain or to harm the organization. This could be a disgruntled employee stealing confidential data, a disgruntled former employee sabotaging systems, or even a cybercriminal who has gained access through compromised credentials.

    Empowering Security with SSPM: A Multi-Pronged Approach

    In today’s SaaS-driven landscape, robust security tools are crucial for mitigating insider threats. SSPM emerges as a powerful solution. It’s a cloud-based, automated security platform specifically designed to secure your SaaS environment. Here’s how SSPM helps you combat insider threats:

    • Shine a Light on Shadow IT: SSPM acts as a discovery tool, detecting and identifying unauthorized SaaS applications. This allows you to assess the potential risks associated with shadow IT and take steps to mitigate them. You can educate employees about approved applications, disable unauthorized ones, and implement policies to prevent future shadow IT usage.
    • Take Control of User Access:  Manual user access reviews can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. SSPM automates this process, ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to critical data and applications based on their job roles and responsibilities. This minimizes the potential for misuse by both negligent and malicious insiders.
    • Monitor for Unusual Activity:  Real-time user activity monitoring is a core strength of SSPM.  It allows you to detect suspicious behavior, such as unauthorized data transfers, access attempts from unusual locations or devices, or attempts to access unauthorized data. By establishing baselines for normal user behavior, SSPM can identify anomalies that might indicate a potential insider threat. This enables you to investigate and take swift action to prevent security breaches.
    • Streamline Offboarding:  The offboarding process can be a vulnerable time for insider threats. Departing employees may still have access to sensitive information after their employment has ended.  SSPM helps ensure a secure offboarding process by automating the revocation of access privileges. This minimizes the risk of insider threats from disgruntled or negligent former employees.
    • Educate and Empower Users: While SSPM offers powerful automated tools, it shouldn’t replace user education.  A comprehensive security strategy should also include ongoing security awareness training for employees.  This training can help employees understand the risks of insider threats, identify suspicious activity, and report potential security issues.

    The Takeaway: Building a Comprehensive Security Strategy

    By automating security tasks, providing comprehensive visibility into your SaaS environment, and offering tools to streamline user access and offboarding, SSPM empowers you to proactively manage insider threats.  However, a truly comprehensive security strategy goes beyond technology.  Incorporating SSPM alongside user education and strong security policies is essential for protecting your organization’s data and resources in the ever-evolving world of SaaS. This multi-layered approach can significantly reduce the risk of insider threats and improve your organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.

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