How does UEM help address the insider threat risks?

Rick Cooper

Mar 24, 2022

6 min read

A cyber security danger that arises from within an organization is referred to as an insider threat. It usually happens when a current or former employee, a partner who has company user credentials, abuses their access to the organization’s networks. An insider threat might be carried out either knowingly or unknowingly. Whatever the motivation, the ultimate effect is a breach of the corporate network and data security, accessibility, and/or integrity.

Traditional cybersecurity plans, policies, processes, and systems frequently focus on external threats, leaving the company open to inside attacks. It’s tough for security experts and programs to tell the difference between routine and hazardous insider behavior since the insider already has valid access to data and systems.

Insider Threats have increased by 47% between 2018 and 2020. A 2021 report from Cybersecurity Insiders suggests that 57% of organizations feel insider incidents have become more frequent over the past 12 months.

Classification of insiders.

There are typically 3 types of insiders:

Malicious Insider aka ‘The evil mastermind’:

This Insider is an employee, who has turned rogue. Malicious insiders, use their privileged access to breach corporate security and collect sensitive information, which they use for their personal, financial gains. They usually look for information that has monetary value. Most malicious insiders end up selling sensitive data to competitors.

Malicious insiders may also work to destroy the company’s day-to-day work. They can do this by introducing malware into the company server and corrupting the whole network.

Negligent insider aka ‘The innocent fool’:

A negligent insider is a person who loses internal data, well ……. being negligent. They are the result of human error, carelessness, and employees falling for scams like phishing. Besides the fact that the employee was to blame, this can usually occur due to a lack of employee knowledge about company security protocols.

Mole Insider aka ‘The rat’:

A Mole insider is a person who gains inside access to the company. Then gains the trust of employees and uses this trust to extort information from employees from inside the organization. They can be anyone from a company-hired contract worker, to a visitor to a full-time employee. They are usually hired by a competitor company or a person who stands to gain from the obtained information.

Example of insiders:

  • Guangzhi Cao, a former Tesla staff member, copied over 300,000 Autopilot code files and joined a competitor company, Xiaopeng Motors.
  • A former employee of Coca-Cola was found in possession of worker data on a personal hard drive.
  • A security researcher discovered a publicly accessible Microsoft customer support database that contained 250 million entries accumulated over 14 years, this was later found to be the case of employee negligence.

Why Insider threat is a serious concern

  • Insider threats are a major problem because
  • Internal attacks are usually hard to track, which the corporate usually doesn’t expect.
  • When your corporate is breached from the inside, it is easier for the insider to compromise your whole network.
  • The insider is already familiar with the internal systems of the company making it easy for the breach.
  • Detecting an internal breach is hard and sometimes, corporates don’t even realize that their data has been stolen before it’s too late.
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How do you identify insiders?

Look out for insiders who

  • Use Backdoors to log in and allow unrestricted access to data from a remote place or from within the company.
  • Obtaining or downloading large volumes of data
  • Having access to sensitive information that isn’t related to their job function
  • Having access to information that isn’t part of their unique behavioral profile
  • to copy large quantities of data across the network, you will see unusual spikes in network traffic. Since there will be a surge in the volume of network traffic.
  • Accessing resources that they normally do not have or are not authorized to have.
  • Access information that isn’t related to their employment.
  • Install external hardware or software to remotely access their system.
  • Search for sensitive data, and try copying or sending the data.

Data Privacy and Data Security: the connection and distinction

How can a UEM help?

With the help of a UEM like Hexnode, you can create user groups. Here, you can sort the employees into different user groups depending on their role in the company. These user groups can then be associated with various policies to restrict or grant access to resources on their device. This way, an IT admin can make sure that only relevant information is available to a particular employee.

An IT admin can also apply various restrictions through UEM like blocking certain features on the end-user device.

For eg: If the employee works in a highly sensitive research facility, the IT admin can restrict access to the camera and microphone.

A UEM can also help you blacklist or whitelist websites and apps, this way the corporate can make sure, an employee uses only the apps that are safe and are needed for the employee.

Blacklisting: By blacklisting an app or website, you can restrict access to certain apps and websites that the corporate deems untrustworthy or unproductive.

Whitelisting: This is the opposite of blacklisting, here you can configure certain apps or websites, such that the user is only allowed to access those particular websites and apps. Everything that is not whitelisted is blocked.

Hexnode has the ability to segregate work and non-work apps. With containerization, the user can create separate profiles for work and personal data. This segregation helps keep the corporate data safe and secure.

A capable UEM will also let you put in place a solid password policy. This way you can configure policies that will ask your policies to set strong passwords in compliance with the rules that are put in place.

Finally, you can regularly monitor the compliance of the enrolled devices, to check if there are any abnormalities.

5 digital security tools to use within the workplace


According to research, employee or contractor negligence is responsible for two out of three insider threat incidents. When such insane statistics are being thrown around, it is important to address the issue of insider threat and embrace new technologies to minimize the losses. Deploying a Hexnode UEM is a good place to start your company’s journey towards a secure future.

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Rick Cooper

Product Evangelist @ Hexnode. Millennial by age. Boomer by heart.

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