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Protect your data from insider threats

by   in Portfolio

 Data sabotage refers to the deliberate act of manipulating, destroying, or misusing an organization's data with the intent to harm the business operations or reputation. The impact of data sabotage on organizations can be severe, leading to financial losses, operational disruptions, and damage to customer trust. For instance, the average global cost of insider threats, which includes data sabotage, rose by 31% over two years to $11.45 million, and the occurrence of incidents spiked by 47% in the same period. Data sabotage can also result in legal consequences and a loss of competitive advantage due to the erosion of data integrity. It's a critical concern that requires robust security measures and an effective incident response plan to mitigate risks and recover from such events. 

Insider threats are a significant concern for organizations, as they are responsible for a considerable number of data breaches. Recent statistics indicate that: 

  • Approximately 31% of all data breaches were caused by insider threats, suggesting that nearly one-third of all breaches originate from insiders such as employees or contractors. 
  • In the past two years, the frequency of insider attacks has increased by over 47%. 
  • A report by Cybersecurity Insiders found that 74% of organizations feel at least moderately vulnerable to insider threats, and more than half have experienced an insider threat in the last year. 
  • The same report highlighted that 68% of organizations found insider threats to be more frequent throughout 2020. 

These statistics underscore the importance of robust security measures and proactive strategies to mitigate the risks posed by insider threats. Read also "OpenText Data Protector and WebRoot Integration".

This blog post will outline best practices for protecting from insider caused data loss using the OpenText Data Protector backup and recovery solution. 

Understanding Insider Data Sabotage 

The motivations behind insider data sabotage can be categorized into malicious intent and accidental harm: 

Malicious Intent: 

  • Financial Gain: Individuals may engage in data sabotage for personal profit, such as selling sensitive data or manipulating financial systems. 
  • Personal Use: Employees might use company data for their own benefit, like taking client lists when moving to a competitor.
  • Sabotage: Some insiders act out of vengeance or to hinder business operations, possibly on behalf of external entities. 
  • Espionage: Insiders may steal data for foreign governments or other organizations. 
  • Emotionally Driven: Disgruntled employees might commit sabotage due to negative emotions towards the organization. 
  • Politically Motivated: Rare cases involve political motivations or state-sponsored attacks. 

Accidental Harm: 

  • Inadequate Training: Employees lacking cybersecurity awareness can inadvertently cause data breaches. 
  • Negligence: Lack of awareness or carelessness can lead to unintentional data breaches. 
  • Mistakes: Simple errors or oversight can result in data being compromised. 

Recent Statistics: 

  • Insider threat incidents have increased by 44% between 2020 and 2022. 
  • 42% of North American companies experienced malicious insider incidents in 2021. 
  • 14% of companies suffered 11 – 20 insider threat-related incidents in 2022. 
  • A significant incident involved a Yahoo! employee downloading over 500,000 pages of source code before quitting in 2023. 

 These motivations highlight the complexity of insider threats and the need for comprehensive strategies to mitigate them. Organizations must balance security measures with an understanding of human behavior to protect against both intentional and accidental insider threats. 

The importance of early detection of insider threats cannot be overstated. Early detection is crucial because: 

  • Minimizes Damage: The sooner an insider threat is detected, the more likely it is to prevent a full-scale cybersecurity breach and its associated consequences. Even if a breach has occurred, early detection can help contain and minimize damage. 
  • Reduces Financial Impact: Insider threats can lead to significant financial losses, including direct theft, fraud, legal costs, and expenses for remediation and system upgrades. Detecting such threats early can significantly reduce these financial risks. 
  • Protects Reputation: A company's reputation can suffer greatly from insider threats. Early detection helps maintain customer trust and the integrity of the brand. 
  • Ensures Business Continuity: By detecting threats early, organizations can ensure that their operations continue without significant disruption. 
  • Aids in Legal Compliance: Early detection helps in complying with various data protection regulations, which may require prompt reporting and response to security incidents. 

In summary, the early detection of insider threats is a critical component of an organization's security strategy, helping to safeguard assets, maintain trust, and ensure the ongoing success of the business. 

OpenText Data Protector and its AI-based anomaly detection helps organizations to quickly detect suspicious activities by insiders. IT staff can then quickly take counter measures and restore possibly deleted digital assets.  

Important to note is that employee education reduces the risk of unintentional data issues. As well as good education for the IT staff in how to prevent malicious internal attacks and how to respond to malicious internal attacks. 

Recovery Strategies 

The use of backup and recovery solutions is essential to recover from internal malicious IT attacks for several reasons: 

  • Last Line of Defense: When all other security measures fail, backups are the last resort to restore the information system quickly and maintain business continuity. 
  • Data Integrity: Backup and recovery solutions ensure that data can be restored to a state that is consistent with the application's requirements, which is critical after an attack has compromised data integrity. 
  • Rapid Recovery: These solutions enable organizations to recover their data effectively and resume normal operations with minimal downtime, which is crucial to limit the financial and operational impact of an attack. 
  • Compliance: Backups help in meeting legal and regulatory requirements for data protection and can be vital in the event of audits or investigations following an attack. 

Find recovery best practices in this white paper here.

In summary, backup and recovery solutions are a critical component of an organization's cybersecurity strategy, providing a safety net that allows for the restoration of data and systems after malicious internal IT attacks. 

OpenText Data Protector is an enterprise-grade backup and disaster recovery solution that helps organizations recover from internal data breaches by providing a range of features: 

  • Comprehensive Recovery Methods: It offers several methods for recovering the Internal Database (IDB), including complete recovery, and omitting corrupted IDB parts, tailored to the level of corruption and the availability of recovery files. 
  • Application-Consistent Recovery: Data Protector ensures that recovery is consistent with the application's state, which is crucial for maintaining data integrity and operational continuity. 
  • Automated Disaster Recovery: The solution includes automated disaster recovery capabilities, which can streamline the recovery process and reduce the time to restore operations. 
  • Flexible Architecture: Its scalable architecture allows for centralized data protection across physical, virtual, and cloud environments, which is essential for a comprehensive recovery strategy. 
  • Security Model: Data Protector incorporates a security model that helps in quickly assessing breached data to improve protection policies and harden response plans. 
  • Cloud-Based Backup and Recovery: For remote teams and distributed systems, it provides cloud-based backup and data recovery software, which can hasten enterprise recovery from cyber-attacks or hardware failures. 

These features of OpenText Data Protector enable organizations to effectively respond to and recover from internal data breaches, minimizing downtime and ensuring business continuity. This video explains how Data Protector can be an organization's missing link in their cybersecurity strategy.


Being prepared for insider data sabotage is crucial for organizations due to the following reasons: 

  • Risk Mitigation: Preparation enables organizations to identify potential insider threats early and implement measures to prevent data sabotage. 
  • Business Continuity: A readiness plan ensures that operations can continue with minimal disruption in the event of an incident. 
  • Financial Stability: Being prepared can significantly reduce the financial impact of data sabotage, including potential losses and recovery costs. 
  • Reputation Management: A swift and effective response to insider threats helps protect the organization's reputation and maintain customer trust. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Preparedness is often a requirement for compliance with data protection and privacy regulations, helping to avoid legal penalties. 

In summary, the preparation for insider data sabotage is essential for safeguarding an organization's assets, reputation, and overall operational health. It involves proactive measures, effective response strategies, and the use of technology to detect and mitigate risks. 


Explore how OpenText Data Protector can help your organization to ensure data integrity and data protection. 

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