Stopping Insider Threats Starts With This Action

No CEO likes writing the type of email that Elon Musk had to send out to Tesla employees earlier this week. After finding that a disgruntled employee had allegedly committed several acts of sabotage against the company, Musk alerted company employees about the event.

According to an article on, the employee used false usernames to change the code in the Tesla Manufacturing Operation System and also exported a great deal of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties.

After investigating, Musk said that they found out the employee was angry that he didn’t receive a promotion.

Tesla won’t be the only company faced with this type of embarrassing data breach, as malicious or criminal insider threats are expected to rise, according to a cybersecurity report by Ponemon Institute.

Although the study identified the threats as one that companies were less concerned with, that is expected to change as companies look to identify potential threats within their own ranks. The first step is to take insider threats seriously. Ignoring them only ramps up the potential damage they can do as they go unchecked.

Here are some key actions to take to identify and address insider threats:

Educate Your Employees

While there are employees out to deliberately sabotage their own companies, there are also a significant number of data breaches that are caused by employees who aren’t trying to be malicious, according to an article on Often employees will share data on unauthorized, or shadow IT, systems, click on malware in their email or accidentally send business information to the wrong email.

The best way to combat these issues is to educate employees about these dangers and how their oversights can be used to access sensitive company data and hurt the company. Employee cybersecurity education campaigns come in many forms - from emails to workshops. Tailoring the program to your company’s and employees’ specific needs is the best way to mitigate that threat.

Track Where Your Critical Data Goes

Another key way to protect your data is to set up mechanisms that track your business’s critical data as it moves both inside and outside of your company networks. Without this monitoring, you have no idea where your data is or when it’s potentially being compromised.

Also, talk to your employees and make sure they understand the potential risks that come with using third-party applications that may or may not be secure.

Notify Employees Immediately When A Threat Is Detected

Once a threat has been detected, it’s important that you can take immediate action to notify employees and direct them to take protective actions. Whether it’s to stop using their email or to use an alternate system, you have to be able to reach all your employees with an urgent alert. This can help slow the spread of a phishing attack, allowing your IT team to isolate and remediate the threat.

Protect Personal And Business Devices

Unless forbidden, almost everyone will use their personal devices to access business data. While this makes it easier to stay productive, it also introduces several key threats, according to You can’t monitor the device so you have no way to know if the device is up-to-date on security programs and you don’t know if the employee has lost or had his device stolen.

On top of that, you have no control of your business data if that employee leaves the company or uses unsecured wifi. Any of these scenarios exposes your business data and puts your company at risk for a data breach.

If you allow employees to use their own devices for business, make sure that they’re updating the security programs regularly and that you have the ability to wipe the devices if they are stolen or when an employee leaves the company. Also, educate your employees about the dangers of unprotected wifi and show them what to look for when using wifi to access sensitive business data.

When your organization is the target of an insider threat, every minute counts. Learn how creating an unified alerting center can decrease your downtime and help stop cyber threats faster in AlertFind’s new webinar.

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You are well on your way toward protecting your staff and organization.

Take the next step toward protecting your organization by learning more about emergency notification systems and the vital role they play in your emergency preparedness plan.