Preventing Insider Threats to Your Managed File Transfers

by | Aug 21, 2023

Preventing Insider Threats to Your Managed File Transfers

  • Managed file transfer security awareness is rising in light of recent high-profile managed file transfer vulnerabilities.
  • 19% of recent breaches involved internal actors who caused intentional and unintentional harm through Misuse and simple human errors.
  • Good access management can help prevent data breaches by allowing businesses to ensure only the right people have access to specific data and automating access control.
  • This article is for business leaders and IT administrators who want to learn more about strengthening access management to prevent data breaches from insider threats.

File Transfer Security Awareness is on the Rise

With a backdrop of mounting high-profile software vulnerabilities, stringent disclosure mandates, and an emerging detection and response framework tailored for managed file transfer, the urgency to secure file transfer software and systems has never been higher.

Is your organization safeguarded and up to speed? Since MFT can sometimes be “buried” in IT departments, often DIYed by a SysAdmin 10+ years ago, it can take some digging to uncover whether or not you’re truly safe from insider threats to your managed file transfers. 

The following tips will help you prevent insider threats to your managed file transfers, regardless of whether you inherit an existing system, are conducting an audit, or are designing a formal program for the first time.

What is an Insider Threat?

Cyber threat includes theft, espionage, violence, and sabotage of anything related to technology, virtual reality, computers, devices, or the internet.

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cyber insider threat includes theft, espionage, violence, and sabotage of anything related to technology, virtual reality, computers, devices, or the internet. They split cyber insider threat into two categories:

    • Unintentional Threats are the non-malicious (frequently accidental or inadvertent) exposure of an organization’s IT infrastructure, systems, and data that causes unintended harm to an organization. Examples include phishing emails, rogue software, and “malvertising” (embedding malicious content into legitimate online advertising).
    • Intentional Threats are malicious actions performed by malicious insiders who use technical means to disrupt or halt an organization’s regular business operations, identify IT weaknesses, gain protected information, or otherwise further an attack plan via access to IT systems. This action can involve changing data or inserting malware or other pieces of offensive software to disrupt systems and networks.

Implementing Protective Measures Against Insider Threats

Managing employee access to critical systems and data can challenge any organization. Granting admin rights to specific tools is necessary but comes with risk. Whether employees with access privileges become disgruntled or careless, their credentials can do great harm when misused or maliciously abused. 

Trusted insiders are often the source of the most devastating data breaches. That makes identity and access management (IAM) for your managed file transfer software a priority for maintaining data security. 

Take Inventory of Your Current MFT Access 

Prevent insider threat by restricting who has access to your secure file transfers.

Prevent insider threat by restricting who has access to your secure file transfers.

A CISO (or whoever wears the security hat for the organization) should make an accounting of everyone who has access privileges to their MFT software—and then explore the organization’s policies and procedures about sharing credentials among staff.

It’s common for people to share passwords—and often, it is for a good reason. Someone takes extended leave, and the person covering needs access. Someone earns a promotion and delegates the task to a new individual. A contractor is hired to migrate some systems to the cloud and needs temporary access to ensure things are working.

The organization grows, adding more people to support a growing list of customers and partners. But as credentials are shared, the likelihood of someone misusing them grows. The first step to prevent insider threats to your secure file transfers is to get an inventory of who can currently access them.

Untangle the Web of Secure File Transfer Access 

The handing down of credentials or changing of roles for an application might become problematic over time. And because managed file transfer is a mature technology that has been chugging along for many years, it can be overlooked by security teams. 

Here’s what you can do today to start wrangling managed file transfer access: 

  1. Revoke access to MFT for anyone who no longer needs it.
  2. Restrict MFT access criteria to role-based needs.
  3. Require multi-factor authentication for access to MFT.
  4. Record all MFT activities for auditing, reporting, and compliance.
  5. Revisit MFT access privileges regularly and start from step one.

Secure File Transfers with Centralized Access Control

Centralizing access control is one way to secure your file transfer software. Vendor support for features like LDAP can help you integrate with your existing tooling vs. managing access to each app independently. 

What is LDAP? LDAP is an acronym for “Lightweight Directory Access Protocol,” a protocol (standard for communication) for working with some Directory Server. 

A “Directory Server” is a bit of Enterprise software that keeps track of user accounts in your organization. The most popular and common Directory Server is Microsoft Active Directory (and, by extension, Azure Active Directory (now known as Microsoft Entra ID), Microsoft’s cloud-based Directory Server. Other familiar LDAP servers are Oracle Internet Directory, Okta LDAP Interface, Apache Directory Server, and OpenLDAP. Integrating with a centralized directory server helps automatically identify users, revoke access, and perform other critical security actions automatically when an employee has left the organization.

An infographic showing how Microsoft Entra ID is a holistic integrated cloud identity and access solution.

Discover the Future of Secure File Transfers with Diplomat MFT

As always, if you need a robust, reliable, and secure managed file transfer platform that has the scalability to handle the needs of a large enterprise, limitless scheduling options and capacity, and complete process automation, including encryption, alerts, and audit, take a look at our Diplomat MFT line of products. 

We think you’ll like what you see in our features and performance, and we know you’ll like what you see in our price. Then, take it for a free 15-day test drive to experience how easy it is to use.