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The Rising Threat from Insiders – Get Your House in Order

Client Alert

What is Insider Threat?

As its name implies, an ‘Insider Threat’ originates inside an organization. An ‘insider’ is any person who has or had authorized access to or knowledge of an organization’s resources, including personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, and systems. ‘Insider threat’ can manifest from malicious, complacent, negligent or unintentional acts that negatively affect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the organization, its data, personnel, or facilities. Certainly, ‘Insider Threat’ can be an activity by a bad actor employee, but can also arise from an inadvertent or unknowing action inside an organization (such as an employee who unintentionally opens a phishing email or clicks on a malicious link).

Rising Frequency; Rising Costs.

Protecting against ‘Insider Threat’ is a data security concern for all organizations. The realities facing organizations today include:

  • The frequency and cost of preventing insider attacks is rising;
  • User negligence is the most common cause of a data breach; and
  • Insider threat deterrence must become a key element in a cybersecurity posture.

According to a 2020 study[1], the average global cost of ​insider threats​ rose by ​31% in two years and the frequency of these incidents spiked by ​47%​ in the same time period. The risk is also present for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). While 72% of organizations reported an increase in insider attacks in 2020, 66% of key decision makers in SMBs do not think breaches are likely to occur. Only 14% of SMBs have any kind of breach defenses in place; the rest are vulnerable to potentially devastating cyberattacks[2]. While daunting, the reality of modern business dictates that companies of all sizes, in all industries, must be cognizant of cybersecurity issues and prepare accordingly.

How can your company guard against Insider Threat?

The following is a brief list of action items your company should implement to address ‘Insider Threat’:

  • Put it in writing – An organization’s security policy should include procedures to prevent and detect misuse of company resources, guidelines for conducting insider investigations, and the potential consequences to the individual. Written policies not only preserve continuity, but also clearly outline rules and expectations in the organization.
  • Train and educate – The Identity Management Institute states that employee education remains key to breach prevention, including cybersecurity awareness during onboarding and routine drills to practice attack and breach responses.
  • Dictate Acceptable Use – An organization should detail an organization’s rules and expectations regarding technology use. This includes considering acceptable behavior on networks and devices.
  • Be transparent about employee privacy expectations - Organizations need to balance reducing insider threats and protecting employee privacy. Communicate and educate employees regarding the security policy and IT rules. Explain the program's objectives, while training employees about their role in security.
  • Get Technical – Invest in IT and consult with legal and technical cybersecurity professionals to find a solution that works for your organization.

Prudent businesses will create and maintain written policies as it relates to cybersecurity and data protection. BMD can assist in crafting the policies and identifying proper security frameworks and connecting you with technical experts to implement. 

If you have any questions about whether your cybersecurity risks, and whether your business is protected, please contact BMD’s Cybersecurity Practice Leaders, Brandon Pauley at btpauley@bmdllc.com or Kyle Johnson at kajohnson@bmdllc.com.

[1] https://www.proofpoint.com/uk/resources/threat-reports/2020-cost-of-insider-threats and Cybersecurity Insiders’ 2020 Insider Threat Report.

[2] https://identitymanagementinstitute.org/government-cybersecurity-and-insider-threats/


Community Banks: Collaboration, not isolation, is the key to protecting/ enhancing the cannabis business you pioneered

As we prepare for the plenary session of the informal institutional cannabis lenders community announced in my previous article, I am pleased to advise that participants now include 5 of the best-known dedicated loan funds; a select group of commercial banks ranging in size from single state community banks to mid-size regionals making cannabis loans into the mid-8 figures; and, a syndicator of credit union cannabis loans.

Inflation Reduction Act: Healthcare Provisions

On August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (the “Act”), a landmark climate, healthcare, and tax bill. Though the Act’s climate provisions have received most of the media attention, the healthcare aspects of the Act present some of the most significant changes to the American healthcare system since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The Current State of Assignment of Benefits Litigation in Florida

On May 25, 2022, Florida lawmakers approved property insurance reforms that remove attorney’s fees, with respect to assignment of benefits (“AOB”) property insurance litigation. One-way attorney’s fees are a longstanding problem in Florida and the reforms come at a time when AOB litigation increasingly affects homeowners in a negative way.

Proposed Community Revitalization Grants for Ohio Projects

Jason A. Butterworth client alert ohio tax credits historic preservation tax credits community revitalization grants

Ohio Senate Bill 225 Paves the Way for Greater Investment in Opportunity Zones and Historic Districts

Ohio Senate Bill 225 is poised to make dramatic enhancements to certain tax credit programs in Ohio, specifically those surrounding investments in “Opportunity Funds” and historic buildings. Signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine in June 2022, the Bill is positive news for real estate developers working to revitalize Ohio communities with investment and rehabilitation projects.