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The Pandemic, Privileged Users and the Growing Inside Threat

July 7, 2020

We know the impact that the pandemic has on businesses will be felt for years to come and we’re still not out of it as numbers climb around the world. Parts are reopening while others are closing again. The key is to figure out ways to mitigate that disruption because it has had a ripple effect on everything we do. Supply chains have been hit due to closings and illness. And that hits the bottom line. Customers who are used to quick deliveries are experiencing delays. Employees are worried about their jobs while also dealing with being stuck at home for an extended period of time.

At this point, everyone understands just how much our work environment has changed due to the pandemic. Many of you were instrumental in helping your companies shift to a completely remote workplace in a very short time. The challenge is that this shift may have made your company vulnerable.

A recent survey from IBM Security found that more than half of the respondents have not been provided with updated or new security policies on how to securely work from home. The survey also found that 53% of remote employees are using their personal laptops and computers for business operations – and 61% say their employer hasn’t provided tools to properly secure those devices.

Now combine that with a Ponemon study found that the insider is responsible for 60-80% of all breaches, and the total average cost for an inside breach is $8.76 million. So companies are providing more access to applications in order to maintain productivity during the pandemic while losing their ability to track that access, which paves the way for the inside threat.

One way to prevent the insider threat is in the way you manage privileged users.  A privileged user is someone who has administrative type access to critical systems. They have the ability to perform countless system administration tasks and even may have the ability to change security policies. They may have access to business-critical data, including employee and customer information, intellectual property, finances and more. Because of this, hackers want those accounts and insiders can easily take advantage of them. And the more privileged users that are created, the more difficult it is to track what’s going on in your systems.

A key step you can take to prevent a privileged user from becoming an inside threat is to ensure the User ID has a defined expiration date. The ID expiration dates should be used to automatically deactivate the credentials of temporary or privileged users to ensure access is only available when needed. For more tips, click here to view the on-demand webinar: 10 Steps to Effectively Manage Privileged Users and Protect Your Company During the Pandemic.