The Many Faces of Corporate Security Threats

Corporate security risks come in many forms. Whether it’s a basement hacker or a simple employee mistake, your company’s information is still at risk.

Posted by Joe Gerard in Corporate Security on February 3rd, 2011

Corporate security risks come in many forms. Whether it’s a basement hacker or a simple employee mistake, your company’s information is still at risk.  Making sure your company’s information is adequately protected can feel overwhelming, as it seems like we are surrounded by ever-evolving security threats.

Knowing where to start can be difficult. In the SANS document, “The Top Cyber Security Risks,” it states:

“The number of attacks is now so large and their sophistication so great, that many organizations are having trouble determining which new threats and vulnerabilities pose the greatest risk and how resources should be allocated to ensure that the most probable and damaging attacks are dealt with first.”

Common Corporate Security Threats

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You need to know what the corporate security threats and risks are in order to plan and prepare to mitigate them. Here are some of the common security threats your company might encounter:

Human Error: Intentional or not, people are security threats. Some examples of common human errors include:

  • Misplacing information.
  • Opening spammy emails.
  • Failure to properly process information.
  • Improper disposal of documents (electronic and paper).
  • Sending email to someone other than the intended recipient (one of the dangers of auto fill!)

Disgruntled Employees: If your systems aren’t secure, employees could be stealing all kinds of data before anyone notices it. There are a lot of reasons why a disgruntled employee might engage in these types of activities, including the fact that the employee see the opportunity and could use the money, or they feel the desire to take revenge on the company. Simple measures such as removing disc drives from computer towers can make a difference.

Property Theft/ Misplacement: Information stored on laptops, USB keys and other portable devices increases security risks as these devices can be misplaced or stolen. These devices must be guarded by strong passwords and other recognition systems- facial scan, fingerprint, etc., in order to make sure information stays protected.

Cyber Criminals: Cyber criminals have developed a number of sneaky tactics to break into systems to get the information they want. In an article I read about a big-time cyber criminal in the NY Times, it almost seemed as if it wasn’t about the information or the money, but simply the ability to hack into as many systems as possible. The tactics used by cyber criminals can be hard to catch, as many companies report that their systems had been invaded long before they knew anything was wrong.

Insufficient Network Security: If your systems aren’t properly guarded, it’s easy for someone to break in. There are tons of ways that hackers weasel their way into your systems, so I recommend consulting a security or IT professional to find out which types of attacks you need to be on the lookout for. Find out which ones are most common and which ones could do the most damage, this way you can prioritize your actions.

Accessibility: When everyone has access to information in your organization, everyone could potentially steal that information. Sensitive information or information that doesn’t pertain to one’s job shouldn’t be accessible to that employee. Clearly defined access roles make it easier to take control over sensitive information.

Social Media: The main security risk surrounding social media is personal information breaches and the sharing of confidential information over these networks. Some people post work related information in a Facebook wall post or when tweeting at someone, making the information available for a lot of people to see. There’s a time and place for everything, and it’s probably best not to have sensitive work related conversations with a colleague on a social media site.

Corporate security is the responsibility of everyone in the organization – not just the IT department. Security requires commitment from the upper-most levels of the organization so that the appropriate resources are available. No employee should be lazy about corporate security. Do you have any other security risks to add to the list? If so, we want to hear from you in our comments section!

Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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