Cyber threats in today’s business landscape come in various forms, from those from outside of your organization to insider threats originating within it. Insider threats can be difficult to identify and can cause great harm to your organization; as an executive leader it is imperative to understand the risks associated with insider threats in order to safeguard it effectively from within.

Insider threats are cybersecurity risks caused by individuals within an organization with access to sensitive data or systems, including employees, contractors or third-party vendors. Threats posed by insiders include intentional or accidental data breaches, theft or fraud attempts by these individuals.

One of the greatest difficulties associated with insider threats is their difficult identification. Unlike external threats, insiders already possess access to sensitive data which makes determining their intent more challenging. To effectively detect insider threats it requires both technical and human controls (access controls and monitoring systems for example), as well as awareness training programs and risk management practices to be in place.

Mitigating an insider threat requires a multifaceted strategy which utilizes both technical and human controls. Examples of technical controls could include logical access controls, network segmentation and data loss prevention systems; human controls include separation of duties principles, risk management practices and dual authorization procedures.

Studies conducted showed that Ghanaian businesses are more vulnerable than ever before to internal threats than external attacks, placing insider threats as one of their greatest risks, particularly those operating within critical information infrastructure and financial services.

To protect your business from insider threats, it is imperative that you implement best practices for cybersecurity – this means regularly updating software and systems, conducting vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, as well as implementing protocols and procedures. In addition, clear policies, procedures, and guidelines must also be established and followed by your employees and vendors.Insider threats pose a substantial cybersecurity threat for businesses in Ghana. Therefore, as an executive leader it is vital that you take proactive steps to prevent and mitigate these threats by implementing technical and human controls, raising employee awareness, creating clear security policies and guidelines as well as maintaining clear standards for your employees and so forth. In doing so you can protect both yourself and your business from becoming the target of an insider threat.