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How to stop employees stealing and selling data: Interview (Includes interview and first-hand account)

The insider threat is more complex than ever. This can arise from a disgruntled employee seeking revenge on employers by stealing and selling data on the dark web or taking customer contact lists. This means organizations find it increasingly difficult to stop soon-to-be former employees from walking out the door with sensitive data.

Given that January is the most popular month for employees to look for a new job, how can companies protect data during employee turnover? FairWarning founder and CEO Kurt Long, an expert in cybersecurity and security intelligence, provides Digital Journal readers with some pertinent advice.

Digital Journal: Kurt, how big a threat does cybersecurity pose to companies?

Kurt Long: Cybersecurity and insider threats have the ability to cause irreparable damages to businesses in 2018. According to a report by Ponemon, insider threats cost organizations $4.3 million on average. In fact, 60% of all cybersecurity attacks are caused by employees inside an organization. Insider threats are most often linked to data breaches resulting in lost revenue and long term reputational damage.

DJ: In terms of external risks, where do these stem from?

Long: As we saw in 2017, external risks such as Ransomware and Malware attacks like Petya and Wannacry pose extreme risk to organizations. These external attacks are often advertently or inadvertently enabled by an insider. Cybercriminals have identified that humans are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, and employ social engineering tactics to penetrate and infect the network. Phishing attacks, for example, are being deployed at massive scale to gain access to sensitive information such as login credentials in order to break into a network.

DJ: How about internal risks? Are there instances of disgruntled employees causing problems?

Long: Internal risks or insider threats will fall under the category of “malicious” or “inadvertent actors”. Malicious insider account for 44 percent of attacks. A common scenario is when departing employees intend to take data with them out the door to a competitor or to a new role.

Computer keyboard.

Computer keyboard.
R. Jason Brunson, U.S. Navy

DJ: Do some of these problems arise when employees are about to leave an organization?

Long: Many organizations have moved to cloud-based technologies as a central point of business operations due to their scalability and convenience, but as a result, employees have access to an increased amount of information. In a survey by Osterman Research, 69 percent of organizations polled cited data loss when an employee leaves their organization. Departing employees typically don’t exfiltrate data a day, a week, or even a month before leaving the organization. It’s usually around the 90-day period that they begin exporting. Often-times this data contains highly sensitive information, such as proprietary code, customer, or prospect information.

DJ: What measures can companies put in place to protect themselves?

Long: Organizations should get a clear understanding of who is accessing what information within their network and cloud based applications. Defending against internal threats requires monitoring user activity and utilizing behavior analytics that provides insights into who, where, why, when, and what insiders are doing. Gaining insights into your business-critical applications allows your security team to be proactive in detecting, investigating, and isolating security incidents.

Monitoring technology such as FairWarning for Cloud Security will provide your organization with the ability to trust your employees, but verify that they are not violating your acceptable use policies and putting your organization at risk.

DJ: What types of services does your company, FairWarning, provide?

Long: FairWarning’s proprietary software expands trust in mission-critical and cloud-based applications. FairWarning provides proactive visibility into more than 300 business applications to provide insights into the who, when, what, where and why of user activity.

Our technologies monitor and secure information at the application layer.

DJ: Which types of companies do you work with?

Long: FairWarning protects patient information in Electronic Health Records for more than 8,500 hospitals and clinics around the world, with 40 percent market share of enterprise level health systems in the U.S. FairWarning also safeguards information for financial services companies with more than $550 billion in assets.

DJ: What plans does FairWarning have for 2018?

Long: We expect continued growth in 2018. Year to date, we have grown bookings for FairWarning for cloud security 145%, and have 16 5-star Salesforce app exchange reviews.

FairWarning provides data protection for Salesforce, Office365, and 8.000 healthcare facilities worldwide.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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