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📖 5 mins read

As we the New Years’ bells chime in another exciting year, if there’s one thing we can be certain of it’s that our world will continue to be even more digitized by the second.

With that, the need for efficient data storing and sharing solutions like the cloud isn’t going anywhere, and consequently the landscape of data security is bound to keep stretching and changing beyond recognition.

Just like technology gave us this magical invention called the ‘cloud’, this ingenious solution came with its own concerts. Such concerns do not outweigh the ample benefits of Cloud computing of course, yet they require special vigilance. 

Cloud computing is the ultimate and most cost effective data solution to meet new and growing business demands today. Yet, to reap it’s best perks, you need to stay alert to potential insider and outsider cloud security threats that may accidentally or maliciously breach and compromise your business’s data.  

Data breach incidents are no trivial matter, in fact, they can have catastrophic after-effects, including permanent damage to share values, precious databases and loss of reputation. A Ponemon Institute study actually found that a data breach was three times more likely to occur for businesses that use the cloud than for those that don’t. 

Why is it important to monitor and address insider threats?

There is nothing worse than a breach that comes from within. Over this past year alone, 60% of companies experienced insider attacks. The real pain that accompanies insider threats is not only the severe damage they can cause, but also the fact that they pave the way for outsider attacks as well.

Outsider attackers feed on any insider vulnerabilities in a company, which makes their attack even more vicious and destructive. 

That’s why it’s a prerequisite to complement your cloud computing strategy with the right cloud security solution and stay well informed on insider threats you can internally control. 

‘’Insider threat is unlikely to diminish in the coming years and will be a major threat to businesses.’’ Steve Durbin, Managing Director of the Information Security Forum (ISF).


To help your business gear up for this barrelling inevitability, grab your cup of tea and read through our list of 6 insider cloud security threats to watch out for moving into 2020

We’ve also included the steps you should take to boost your internal Cloud Data Security approach/ strategy.

1. 24/7 Access to Sensitive Data by everyone in Your Company

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, isn’t that one of the best perks of the cloud? Well, that’s a two-fold weapon my friends.

Let’s look at it that way, an insider attack usually comes from authorized or authenticated users, which means they can copy and leak large amounts of data without anyone knowing the source of the incident. 

The best way to avoid this is by constantly auditing things like file shares, controlling file access permissions and identifying unusual activities.

Pro Tip for Google Workspace domainsGoogle Workspace admins can monitor suspicious activity in their Google Workspace Administrator Panel. They can also control and audit everything happening in their domain, set sharing policies and more using GAT, the ultimate Google Workspace Audit and Security tool.

The time scope of access to certain files is also crucial. Say a user is working on a particularly sensitive file, their permission to access such file should be limited to the time needed to complete their work. Afterwards such permission should be amended.

That way your employees can access your most valuable data whenever they need, but only with your knowledge and without compromise. 


2. Crackable Passwords and Lack of Multifactor Authentication

Your employees get to choose their passwords, but it is your job to ensure that such passwords are strong enough, otherwise they’re simply redundant. 

Are strong passwords alone enough? Sadly, not in today’s world. 

Make sure you internally enforce the practice of multifactor authentication (MFA) in your organization. Such practice dramatically fortifies log-in security beyond just email and password:

    1.  Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) adds a second layer of protection to users’ accounts, thereby enhancing log-in security. There are several types of 2FA methods in use today; some stronger or more complex than others. You can simply choose the one that better fits your business needs.
    2. Three Factor Authentications (3FAs) simply takes Two Factor Authentication to the next level of log-in security. It’s highly unlikely that an attacker could guess or steal all three elements involved in 3FA, which makes for an even more secure log in. Constant identity verification tools like GAT’s Active ID are the latest innovation in cloud security, taking the verification process literally to your employees’ fingertips.  


3. Untrained Employees 

We can teach our children not to take candy from strangers, but when it comes to educating our employees on data security sometimes we fall short. Unfortunately, the possibility of an accidental data leakage or data loss incident to occur by untrained employees poses the highest risk of all. 

No matter how much you invest in a superior Cloud computing technology or cloud security tools, if your employees are not well aware of the correct data security practices for your business, privacy violations and major data breaches can still happen.

That can occur in seemingly harmless ways, the simple installation of a USB drive for instance can introduce an exploit. 

Raise your employees’ awareness about data security risks. They need to be regularly trained on the best data security practices for your business, including GDPR training and Cybersecurity Awareness sessions.


4.Employee Bribery

Bribery is one of the most common forms of corruption worldwide. It exists in all parts of the world and can be a serious threat to data security. 

Your databases and intellectual property are incredibly valuable and sought after by malicious threat actors who would do anything to exploit them, including bribing your employees. 

The best way to protect yourself against such threat is internally, by enforcing a healthy anti-bribery culture at your company.

 That can be done by incorporating interactive anti-bribery trainings and workshops.

Of course, bribery isn’t the most accessible way to breach your cloud data, but it’s a serious insider threat that you should be wary of.


5. Angry Leavers

Not all employees exit their companies drama free, on the off chance that an angry employee leaves your company, it’s possible that they might take more than just memories with them when they leave. 

Sometimes leavers might not even have any malicious intent when they exit your company, however your valuable data may still be of great use to them in their new roles. This insider case is a good example for instance.

One of the first things you should do when offboarding your departing employees is ensuring that they no longer have access to valuable company data as soon as their last day at the company ends. Know when insiders become outsider and act accordingly.


6. Accidental Sensitive Data Exposure

Not all insider data breaches happen out of malicious intent. An employee can accidentally share a sensitive piece of data to an unauthorized party in a shared email thread or file, or even type in things like company credit card details, SSNs and more in an unsafe environment. 

The best solution to mitigate the possibility of crisis in that case is by setting up real-time alerts that enable you to take immediate action.

Real-time alerting tools like GAT Shield cover every threat aspect and enable you to take instant action, which have proved to be highly effective when it comes to dealing with accidental data exposures.


Insider threats are real, and while their repercussions can be catastrophic the good thing is that you can internally control them within the walls of your business once you’ve identified them.

Implementing awareness training sessions, enabling real time reporting, adopting strong authentication practices as well as taking effective off-boarding measures are all great steps to combat and halt cross-functional insider threats.


? Better insider threat protection to the top of the cloud in Google Workspace and Chrome environments

GAT is the ultimate tool to identify and address insider threats in Google Workspace and Chrome environments. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how GAT can help your business here.


Thanks for sharing and spreading the word!