With Cloud the Norm, Insiders Are Everywhere — and Pose Greater Risk

After companies accelerated their adoption of cloud infrastructure, remote workers are now insiders and pose significant risks, and costs, to companies.

Organizations dealing with insider threats spent $15.4 million on average during 2021, a 34% increase from 2020, and required 85 days to contain each incident, according to a survey of 1,000 information technology and security professionals released on Jan. 25.

The survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by enterprise security firm Proofpoint, documented 6,803 total insider incidents, including those caused by negligent employees, malicious insiders, and the theft of credentials by outside hackers. Because companies have accelerated their move to cloud services in the wake of the pandemic, the theft of credentials has become a more common — and the most expensive — insider threat, nearly doubling in frequency over the previous year.

The move to remote work and cloud services has changed the way that companies have to watch out for insider attacks, says Ryan Kalember, executive vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Proofpoint.

“The relationship with the employer is different, and the set of technical controls you use to identify those incidents are different,” he says. “There are no classic insider risk program elements when you are not all going to the same office, and can say, ‘Oh, that guy is acting funny.’ You can’t do that when everyone is meeting over Zoom all day.”

Based on a sample of 278 companies, the survey found that the insider attacks cost companies in North America the most, with the average firm in that region paying $17.5 million per year; the financial services industry had the greatest cost, with each company paying $21.3 million on average, according to the report.

Overall, 43% of the cost from insider threats was due to negligent employees, 27% due to malicious insiders, and 30% due to credential theft. The most common insider incident, negligent insiders, Read more:https://bit.ly/3rXNbt1

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