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Think Your Employees Aren't Leaking Data? Think Again

Blog | Altitude Networks, June 9th, 2021

Data exfiltration from insider risks is a growing concern – even more so now that a greater number of employees are working remotely, away from the company network-proper and possibly leaking data beyond the watchful eye of the security team. Forrester research in February 2021 found that 74% of business leaders are more concerned with data loss due to insider risks than before the pandemic, and 82% are now more focused on protecting company data. 

According to 451 Research, data loss prevention (DLP) now ranks among the most common security investments, with 13% of companies planning to make a "significant investment" in this area from 2021-2022. 

Staying Ahead of the Bad Guys – and, Sometimes, the Good Guys

When businesses began to include insiders in their risk analyses, they discovered that threats from their own employees can be very serious. Employees who are planning to change jobs may contrive ways to maintain access to corporate files after they leave the company. One tactic is to add a personal email address as a collaborator on company files, such as customer databases, technology roadmaps, or mergers and acquisition (M&A) documents, so they can still see or download that data later. They may even be involved in even more sinister activities, like corporate espionage or selling data for profit.

However, insider risks aren't limited to people with malicious intent. Data loss is more often the result of innocent mistakes, not paying attention to the permission granted to a collaborator, or accidentally sharing a link with unrestricted access. In fact, 84% of data breaches in the cloud occur due to mistakes that take place in the course of normal business. 

Leaking Data: A Case in Point

Here's an illustration of how a data breach could occur in your business today if you don't have the correct safeguards in place:

If it occurs once, and a conscientious collaborator notifies the sender of the mistake, the error may not amount to any problem at all. However, if this scenario is repeated across your entire organization – along with accidentally hitting "reply all" when people outside your organization are on an email conversation or sharing links in other ways – you can accumulate a significant amount of risk in a short period. 

3 Components of DLP Strategy You Need to Implement in the New World of Cloud-Based Collaboration

The Public cloud(s)  provides a range of benefits for your company, such as the ability to quickly share files and speed up  collaboration with others who may be miles away, and streamline review and approval processes. But as the above illustration shows, this new way to work also creates risks of data exfiltration. 

You can mitigate your risks of cloud-based collaboration with a strategy that includes: 

  1. Access Control

Cloud-based collaboration requires that you implement distributed access management control, covering every employee and business partner. However, you need to strike a balance between control that prevents critical data leaks and minimal interference with your employee's workflows. 

  1. Continuous Monitoring

In the cloud, a single wrong click can result in worldwide exposure, but external link sharing has become a normal part of business. You need a way to continuously monitor what is shared outside your organization and which users make errors or ignore data protection policies.  

  1. Minimize False Positives

The technology you put in place to secure data should work accurately. Legacy DLP solutions developed a bad reputation for returning a high rate of false alarms, which led to alert fatigue and a tendency among security teams to ignore alerts, even when protected data was about to leave the network.

Always on Watch

It would be virtually impossible to maintain visibility into which cloud documents contain sensitive data, how your employees are interacting with them, and where they are shared with manual methods. Intelligent technology that uses natural language processing (NLP) to understand the contents of documents and tracks where sensitive data is shared is the optimal way to keep watch. You should be able to use the technology to stop data loss before it happens.

The risk of data leaking from your organization may be greater than you anticipated when you moved workflows to the cloud. Stop data exfiltration with a solution designed to stop insider threats, both malicious and unintentional, that put your business and data at risk. Contact Altitude Networks for more information.

Ready to get your Cloud Security in Check?

Fill in some contact info below or schedule a meeting so we can reach out to provide more details on how Altitude Networks can protect you from data loss in the cloud.

We'll be in touch!

Ready to get your Cloud Security in Check?

Fill in some contact info below or schedule a meeting so we can reach out to provide more details on how Altitude Networks can protect you from data loss in the cloud.

We'll be in touch!