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Insider attacks can come from a variety of sources, including current and former employees, contractors, and third-party vendors.

Insider attacks on HR systems can be devastating for any organization. Not only can they lead to the loss of sensitive information, such as employee records and payroll data, but they can also erode trust and damage the company’s reputation.

Whether it be employee negligence, credential theft, or a criminal insider, the average cost of such a data breach is estimated at $484,931 per incident. That’s why it’s crucial to take steps to prevent these types of attacks from happening in the first place.

So, how do you do that? It all starts with identifying potential insider threats and implementing strong security measures to protect your HR systems.

Identifying potential insider threats

Insider attacks can come from a variety of sources, including current and former employees, contractors, and third-party vendors. This is why it is vital that you are aware of all individuals who have access to your HR systems and that you regularly review and update access permissions to ensure that only those who need access have it.

It’s also important to be aware of any individuals who have access to sensitive HR information, even if they don’t have direct access to the systems themselves. For example, a receptionist with access to physical employee files could potentially steal sensitive information and pass it along to someone else.

 This is why you must have strict protocols in place for accessing and handling sensitive information, regardless of whether it is stored digitally or in physical form.

Implementing security measures

Once you’ve identified potential insider threats, it’s time to take action to protect your HR systems. Some key measures to consider include:

Using strong, unique passwords for all HR system accounts.

Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and consider using a password manager to generate and store secure passwords. It’s also a good idea to regularly update passwords and encourage employees to do the same.

Enabling two-factor authentication for HR system accounts.

This adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to enter a code sent to their phone or email in addition to their password when logging in. Two-factor authentication can help prevent unauthorized access, even if an attacker manages to obtain an employee’s password.

Regularly reviewing and updating access permissions for HR systems

Make sure that only those who need access have it and remove access for anyone who no longer needs it, such as former employees. It’s also a good idea to periodically review access permissions to ensure that they are still appropriate for each individual.

Monitoring HR system activity and flagging any suspicious behaviour

Use tools such as intrusion detection systems and log monitoring to identify and alert you to any unusual activity. This can help you catch potential insider attacks early on and take action to prevent further damage. Different HRIS systems have different security features, so be sure to review the available options and choose one that offers the right level of protection for your organization.

Implementing security training for all HR personnel

Make sure that everyone who has access to HR systems and sensitive information is aware of proper security practices and knows how to identify and report potential threats. Training can help employees understand the importance of protecting sensitive information and give them the tools they need to do so.

Responding to an insider attack

Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible that an insider attack could occur. In the event of an attack, it’s important to act quickly to minimize the damage. Some steps to take include:

  • Disconnecting affected HR systems immediately to prevent further access can help prevent an attacker from doing further damage and give you time to assess the situation.
  • Conducting a thorough investigation to identify the source of the attack – This may involve working with cyber security experts and law enforcement to track down the perpetrator. It’s important to understand how the attack occurred and what information may have been accessed or compromised.
  • Implementing additional security measures to prevent future attacks – This may include strengthening passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and conducting regular security assessments. It’s also a good idea to review your current security protocols and see if there are any areas that need improvement. This could include strengthening access controls, increasing monitoring of system activity, or implementing additional training for employees.
  • Communicating the incident to relevant parties, including employees and authorities if necessary – It’s important to be transparent about the situation and to take steps to restore trust and prevent similar attacks from happening. This may involve informing employees about the attack, explaining what steps are being taken to address it, and offering resources for any affected individuals. Depending on the severity of the attack, it may also be necessary to inform authorities and take legal action against the perpetrator.

Final word

Preventing insider attacks on HR systems is a continuous process that requires regular attention and updates. By being proactive and taking steps to identify and mitigate potential threats, you can protect your organization’s sensitive information and maintain the trust of your employees.

It’s also important to have a response plan in place in case an attack does occur so that you can act quickly and effectively to minimize the damage and prevent future attacks. By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your HR systems are secure and that your organization’s sensitive information is protected.

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