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Prevent Insider Risks With Secure Offboarding

SaaS applications are the go-to work tool for employees, but their usage is out of control. These applications often contain highly sensitive information that should be protected and effectively managed at all costs, ensuring that nothing falls into the hands of threat actors with malicious intentions. Now, with the rapid digitization of the business world, Insider Risk Management has emerged as a non-negotiable practice for Security and IT teams, especially when combating the insider risks associated with outgoing employees. When employees leave an organization, they often take with them access to sensitive data and SaaS applications. This control can pose a serious security risk, as those with malicious intentions could use this access to steal data, disrupt operations, or other forms of cyberattacks.

What is Insider Risk Management?

Insider Risk Management is the process of identifying, assessing, and mitigating the risks posed by employees, contractors, or other users who have access to sensitive data or systems. This includes both malicious insiders who intentionally misuse their access, as well as employees who make innocent mistakes that could lead to data breaches. The main objective of Insider Risk Management is to proactively prevent and mitigate potential threats.

Challenges of Employee Offboarding

a former employee holding a box with his items representing the need for effective insider risk management

Remote work has led to a surge in the adoption of SaaS tools, thanks to their cloud-based infrastructure and support for decentralized teams. However, as organizations face unprecedented challenges such as layoffs and financial constraints, security and IT professionals encounter difficulties in conducting proper offboarding. One critical concern during the offboarding process is terminating access and permissions to company applications and files.

Failure to effectively revoke these privileges can result in unauthorized access and potential data breaches. Through SaaS Security Posture Management (SSPM) solutions, security teams can efficiently disable user accounts, revoke permissions, and terminate access across multiple SaaS applications.

To tackle these obstacles, organizations need to leverage automation and ongoing monitoring into their offboarding procedures. Automation tools ensure consistent and thorough access removal across all platforms, reducing the chances of oversight or errors inherent in manual procedures. Continuous monitoring swiftly identifies unusual user activities after offboarding, allowing organizations to quickly address potential security risks.

The Risks of Weak Offboarding

person with gloves indicating the importance of insider risk management

Insufficient offboarding practices introduce various security risks into organizations. Risks such as unauthorized access, data breaches, compromised system integrity, and vulnerabilities, just to name a few. The consequences of these risks can be severe, leading to legal penalties and non-compliance, financial losses, reputation damage, and loss of customer trust. Data theft remains one of the most significant risks organizations face during the offboarding process.

To prevent such incidents, security teams must prioritize disconnecting offboarded employees from SaaS applications, revoking their privileges, and securing physical devices. Additionally, monitoring suspicious user behavior, such as abnormal data transfers or excessive downloads, can help detect potential threats and mitigate risks. SSPM solutions like Wing Security enable non-intrusive monitoring by focusing on the metadata of file-sharing, including file type, where it was shared and who shared it.

With over 260,000 employees having been laid off in 2023, security teams face immense pressure to ensure secure and streamlined offboarding procedures. Offboarded employees may possess varying levels of permissions and have data stored in the cloud. To address this, security professionals and CISOs must leverage SSPM technology to enhance the security and efficiency of the offboarding process. Through automation, a reliable SSPM solution can streamline the offboarding process, ensuring that departing employees’ access to sensitive company data is revoked accordingly.

Ensuring Compliance Through Effective Offboarding

Proper offboarding plays a crucial role in mitigating legal and compliance risks. Organizations must ensure a smooth transition for departing employees by revoking physical and digital permissions. Failure to do so not only poses security risks but also leads to significant legal repercussions.

Compliance standards, such as those required in ISO and SOC audits, require the effective disabling of access and permissions, securing company assets, and conducting other essential offboarding procedures. SSPM solutions such as Wing simplify evidence and data collection by providing a comprehensive view of user access to all applications, enabling security teams to prove compliance by demonstrating that only relevant users have access to critical information.

“The ease of 1 click offboarding is a game changer. There used to be many little tasks to offboard someone, but with Wing we can offboard and collect SOC 2 evidence with 1 click.”

Kelley west, orum

Four SSPM Tips for Effective Insider Risk Management:

1) Discover Your Organization’s SaaS Usage

Identify all the SaaS applications and users within your organization to gain a comprehensive understanding of your attack surface. Armed with this knowledge, SSPM helps you uncover access rights to prevent unauthorized access.

2) Monitor for Abnormal User Behavior

Be on the lookout for abnormal SaaS behavior all year round, but specifically during employees’ notice periods. This can be done by keeping tabs on suspicious activities like unusual data transfers or deletions. You can better prevent potential SaaS breaches by leveraging a best-in-class, always-on SSPM solution.

3) Offboard Outgoing Employees Carefully

Take immediate action to terminate connections of non-relevant and former employees, should they still be accessing the SaaS applications used by your organization. Using built-in automation helps to speed up and ease the monitoring and management of all applications, users, and data – ensuring that no outgoing employee is still accessing your critical business information.

4 )  Regularly Review and Update User Permissions

Conduct periodic audits of permissions granted by users to SaaS applications, that for example, distinguish between “write” and “read” access. This helps to prevent excessive permissions from being granted in places where there is sensitive data. By controlling user permissions, organizations can effectively minimize the risk of data leaks and strengthen insider risk management practices, ensuring a well-protected SaaS environment.

Proper offboarding procedures are crucial for SaaS security and mitigating the risks associated with departing employees. By prioritizing effective offboarding practices and leveraging SSPM solutions like Wing Security, organizations can protect sensitive information, ensure compliance with regulations, and minimize the likelihood of data breaches. Proactive measures and the use of SaaS security solutions contribute to a well-rounded security posture in today’s evolving business landscape.

To learn more about Wing and Insider Risk Management, read the eBook here.

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