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4 Ways to Secure Your Data from Insider Threats (and Still Engage in Virtual Collaboration)

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Virtual collaboration is more important than ever with the advent of work-from-anywhere policies. That’s especially the case for technology companies and other organizations with agile workflows and iterative product development cycles.

This collaborative process often relies on a new supply chain that incorporates outside partners, vendors and applications—and increases the number of sanctioned endpoints.

But without a people-centric cybersecurity approach, your team risks collaborating at the expense of your most valuable assets: intellectual property (IP), customer data and more.

Too many cybersecurity programs overlook the fact that costly insider threats are on the rise. This is particularly relevant to agile organizations, as negligent insiders cause 62% of these incidents—not insiders with malicious intent. Both the sheer number of collaborators and the rise of cloud-based tools create more opportunities for potential mistakes.

The following four best practices can help companies in technology and other agile, collaborative industries safeguard their evolving supply chain from the threat of insider-led breaches:

1. Allow for open collaboration by using data to identify user risk

Insider threat monitoring doesn’t have to come at the cost of collaborative, agile workflows. Technology that proactively monitors user risk, and flags new risks in real time, allows organizations to embrace virtual collaboration without lingering concerns about insider threats.

Teams need to adopt new collaboration tools to embrace work-from-anywhere policies fully. When agile workflows cross departments, data may be stored and shared using different methods. That network can be better protected when you gain visibility into a combination of user activity and data movement.

Insider threat management (ITM) platforms can flag out-of-policy user activity and detect file activity or risky user behavior in real time. That allows your security policy to move as quickly as your users do.

2. Protect your competitive advantage with real-time IP data tracking

A technology company’s competitive edge often comes from its IP—and this information is highly vulnerable to insider threats. 

Embracing the innovative spirit means that your IP is likely in a constant state of flux and shared with many users, including vendors and other third parties. Protecting this IP is a key concern for stakeholders, from the C-suite to the board of directors.

Take the proactive approach to safeguarding your IP by ensuring the guidelines for use are updated regularly and accessible to all your insiders.

Then, prepare your organization for an incident that implicates IP data. A mature approach to ITM will allow your organization to detect the movement of IP-related data in real time. That can prevent further data loss following an incident, and it’s much more efficient and reliable than a retrospective, manual review of data logs.

2. Safeguard user data when working with third parties to remain compliant

Bringing new contractors, vendors and third parties into the supply chain is likely a regular occurrence. You want to allow these partners to collaborate freely with your teams, but you don’t want to cause unnecessary compliance risks by freely sharing sensitive data.

Securing third-party access to your data begins with gaining visibility into the activity of third parties and then retaining audits of these user activity logs for future compliance requirements.

An ITM platform can also provide capabilities to react to incidents involving third parties by collecting and collating data related to high-risk behavior based on the user’s endpoint.

3. Prepare your incident response plan to avoid unnecessary data loss

Proactive monitoring is the first step to ITM, but data loss prevention and accelerated incident response are crucial to protecting your brand and data as well. 

The more time it takes an organization to respond to an insider incident, the more costly it becomes. ITM solutions have been found to reduce incident costs by 56%

Beyond the impact to the bottom line, a proactive plan for a fast response can also prevent further data loss. An ITM platform keeps you well-prepared for incident response through focused detection, easy-to-understand context and a proactive log of evidence.

4. Take the next step to mitigate insider risk

Empower secure collaboration across your organization and combat insider threats with the leading, people-centric Insider Threat Management solution from Proofpoint.

To learn more about how Proofpoint can help you address the risk of insider threats, download our e-book, “Managing Insider Threats in the Technology Sector.” Also, check out our on-demand webinar “Strategies to Combat Insider Threats in Your Supply Chain.”