Information Security: Critical Issues & Risks
The need for User Activity Monitoring (UAM) has increased in the past decade due to the surge in security incidents that directly or indirectly involve user credentials, exposing critical company information including sensitive data & files. In 2014 alone, there were about 761 data breaches in the United States, resulting in over 83 million exposed customer and employee information. With 76% of these breaches resulting from weak or misused user credentials, UAM has become a major element in IT infrastructure security. The risks & security threats that UAM aims to eliminate are listed below:
Risks with Third Party Contractors Access
It remains inevitable for most organization to hire several third party contractors to perform several IT and operational tasks. Most of the time, such contractors require remote or onsite access to critical and confidential company data in order to perform the jobs for which they have been hired. Even with no malicious intent, such an external user is always a major security liability. UAM tools effectively deter information misuse, and are usually programmed to display appropriate warning messages that they are being monitored whenever they access digital information.
Everyday Corporate Users & Authorized Employees
Organizations need to provide access to several crucial information to their employees to perform their day-to-day functions. 70% of regular business users admitted to having access to more data than necessary. Generalized accounts may give regular business users or employees access to confidential company data. This makes insider threats a reality for any business that uses generalized employee access accounts.
Privileged IT Users
Administrator accounts usually have full access to all information. As such, such administrator accounts need to be heavily monitored due to the high profile nature of their access privileges. But, current log tools can generate log overload on these admin accounts causing a “log fatigue” phenomenon. Log fatigue is the overwhelming sensation of trying to handle a vast amount of log data on a particular generalized account as a result of too many user actions using the same account credentials. Harmful user actions performed using such generalized administrator accounts can easily go unnoticed with thousands of user actions being compiled on a daily basis.
Overall User Risk
According to the Verizon Data Breach Incident Reports, the first & most critical step in protecting your data is in knowing where the data is and who has the rights to access it. In today’s IT environment, there is a lack of oversight and control over how and who among employees has access to sensitive & confidential data. This apparent gap is one of many factors that have resulted in a major number of security issues for organizations.