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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/


The Ohio State University Launches Its Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

In response to Ohio’s nursing shortage, The Ohio State University College of Nursing is accepting applications for its new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (aBSN). Created for students with a bachelor’s degree in non-nursing fields, the aBSN allows such students to obtain their nursing degree within 18 months. All aBSN students will participate in high-quality coursework and gain valuable clinical experience. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to take the State Board, National Council of Licensure Exam for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN).

Another Transparency Obligation: The FinCEN Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements

Many physician practices and healthcare businesses are facing a new set of federal transparency requirements that require action now. The U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements (the “Rule”), which was promulgated pursuant to the 2021 bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act, is intended to help curb illegal finance and other impermissible activity in the United States.

“In for a Penny, in for a Pound” is No Longer the Case for Florida Lawyers

On April 1, 2024, newly adopted Rule 1.041 to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedures goes into effect which creates a procedure for an attorney to appear in a limited manner in civil proceedings.  Currently, when a Florida attorney appears in a civil proceeding, he or she is reasonable for handling all aspects of the case for their client.  This new rule authorizes an attorney to file a notice limiting the attorney’s appearance to particular proceedings or specified matters prior to any appearance before the court.  For example, an attorney can now appear for the limited purpose of filing and arguing a motion to dismiss.  Once the motion to dismiss is heard by the court, the attorney may file a notice of termination of limited appearance and will have no further obligations in the case.

Enhancing Privacy Protections for Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) finalized updated rules to 42 CFR Part 2 (“Part 2”) for the protection of Substance Use Disorder (“SUD”) patient records. The updated rules reflect the requirement that the Part 2 rules be more closely aligned with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) privacy, breach notification, and enforcement rules as mandated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020.

Columbus, Ohio Ordinance Prohibits Employers from Inquiries into an Applicant’s Salary History

Effective March 1, 2024, Columbus employers are prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history. Specifically, the ordinance provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice to: