Mimecast Study: 45 Percent of Organizations Not Prepared for Malicious Insiders

New global research study reveals 90 percent of organizations cite malicious insiders as a major threat

Watertown, MA – August 17, 2016 – Mimecast Limited (NASDAQ: MIME), a leading email and data security company, released new data* today revealing that organizations globally believe they are their own worst enemy when it comes to cybersecurity, with 45 percent saying they are ill-equipped to cope with the threat of malicious insiders and twice as many, 90 percent, calling malicious insiders a major threat to the organizations’ security.

Mimecast initially found as part of its Business Email Threat Report: Email Security Uncovered that 65 percent of IT security decision makers globally feel their email security systems are inadequately equipped to handle cyber threats; and, this new data makes it clear that malicious insiders represent a major source of this risk and anxiety over security preparedness.

By concentrating predominately on perimeter defense and outside threats, organizations around the world struggle with the risk that comes from their own people, emphasizing the need for organizations to implement employee awareness and education as well as creating a cyber resilience strategy that includes both technology- and human-based defenses. This is evident especially considering this study revealed that nearly half of the organizations polled felt exposed to malicious insider attacks.

Mimecast’s research also uncovered that:

  • Over half (53 percent) of IT security decision makers view malicious insiders as a moderate or high threat to their organization.
  • One in seven IT security decision makers view malicious insiders as their number one threat.
  • Those who say they’re very equipped on cybersecurity feel virtually just as vulnerable to insider threats as those who believe they aren’t equipped at all (16 percent vs. 17 percent), indicating that the risk of malicious insiders trumps perceptions of security confidence. 

“Organizations of all sizes struggle with the risks that are posed by employees being targeted by adversaries to launch and execute attacks to gain access to data or funds” said Peter Bauer, CEO, Mimecast. “Every day, we trust employees with sensitive information and powerful tools, but we don’t give them the effective security education and advanced cloud security solutions that goes hand-in-hand with those responsibilities. As a community we must work together to enact better business processes. This is in part why we launched the Cyber Resilience Coalition, bringing together leading security, data protection and business continuity vendors to help strengthen organizations’ total cyber resilience strategy.

“Another issue we can work together to control is rogue employees who use file-sharing or cloud storage services to steal valuable corporate data – also known as malicious insiders. IT managers have, for too long, not paid due attention to this threat. We must re-evaluate unrestricted access to these services and ensure that other protections are put in place quickly.”

Mimecast Tips for Safeguarding Against Malicious Insiders 

  1. Assign role-based permissions to administrators to better control access to key systems and limit the ability of a malicious insider to act.
  2. Implement internal safeguards and data exfiltration control to detect and mitigate the risk of malicious insiders when they do strike, to cut off their ability to send confidential data outside the network.
  3. Offer creative employee security training programs that deter potential malicious insiders in the first place and help others to spot the signs so they can report inappropriate activity to their managers. Then, back that up with effective processes to police and act swiftly in the event of an attack.
  4. Nurture a culture of communication within teams to help employees watch out for each other and step in when someone seems like they’ve become disenchanted or are at risk of turning against the company.
  5. Train your organization’s leadership to communicate with employees to ensure open communication and awareness.

*This data was extracted from a Mimecast survey of 600 IT security managers from organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. The initial findings of that survey were released in February 2016.

About Mimecast
Mimecast (NASDAQ: MIME) makes business email and data safer for 19,900 customers and millions of employees worldwide. Founded in 2003, the company's next-generation cloud-based security, archiving and continuity services protect email and deliver comprehensive email risk management.

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