The Importance of User Behavior Analytics
By Veriato - October 23, 2020
There’s no question that cybercrimes are a growing problem for businesses in the United States.
A cyberattack can cost a business about $200,000 on average.
Sadly, many businesses that are targeted cannot recover from the financial effects of a cyberattack. In fact, it’s estimated that 60% of targeted companies go out of business within six months of the attack.
Decision makers often assume that most cybercrimes are committed by people outside of the organization, but that’s not the case. According to IBM, insider threats account for about 60% of all cyberattacks. To prevent these attacks, it’s important for companies to utilize user behavior analytics that allow them to quickly detect and respond to potential insider threats.
Why is Detecting Insider Threats Difficult?
Detecting potential insider threats is challenging. Many insider threats go undetected for months or even years.
To detect an insider threat, companies must be able to identify when an employee is engaging in abnormal or suspicious behavior. But what is considered abnormal or suspicious for one employee may not be for another, which is what makes detecting these threats so difficult.
For example, employee A may need to access a file with sensitive data on a regular basis in order to perform their job duties. But employee B may only need to access this file once a month to perform their job duties. So if employee A accesses this file during every work day, it may not be suspicious or abnormal. But if employee B does, this could be a red flag.
Because the way each employee works is unique, it’s hard for companies to monitor their activities, analyze what they are doing, determine whether their behavior is suspicious, and identify potential threats. But fortunately, user behavior analytics makes it much easier to accomplish these goals.
What is User Behavior Analytics?
User behavior analytics is integrated into employee monitoring and insider threat detection software. This tool collects data on each employee’s digital activities to learn more about how they work.
For example, it will collect data on the programs used, files accessed, websites visited, location of the device and more. This data is used to create a unique user profile for each employee that is being monitored. The more information that the software gathers, the better it will be able to define what “normal behavior” is for each employee.
How is User Behavior Analytics Used to Prevent Cyber Attacks?
User behavior analytics will continue to monitor your employees’ digital activities at all times. The software will constantly compare the data that is collected to the data in each employee’s custom user profile.
The software’s goal is to look for suspicious or abnormal behaviors, which are those that fall outside of what is defined as “normal behavior” in the user’s profile. If an employee engages in this type of abnormal behavior, this could indicate that they are an insider threat.
For example, say an employee never prints documents or downloads files to a USB device. But one day, the employee prints hundreds of pages of information from a file containing sensitive data. The employee also downloads this file with sensitive data onto a USB device.
User behavior analytics would define both of these behaviors as suspicious activities because they fall outside of what is considered “normal behavior” for this specific employee. Therefore, user behavior analytics would assume that this employee is a potential insider threat. The software would immediately send you an alert to notify you of the suspicious activity so you can respond as quickly as possible.
If you receive an alert, you will be able to watch video playback of the suspicious activity that took place on the employee’s device. The video playback shows the employee’s screen, so you can see exactly what the employee was doing and determine whether or not it is a valid threat. If the threat is valid, you can immediately notify the appropriate parties and take action to protect your company.
It won’t be your employee’s word against yours. The video playback, along with other data collected by the software, can be used to support an internal or criminal investigation into the employee’s wrongdoing.
How Can User Behavior Analytics Identify Disgruntled Employees?
Many cyberattacks are carried out by disgruntled employees who are unhappy with their job or angry at their employer. These insiders may have access to a company’s sensitive data, so they are capable of causing serious harm to their employer. This is why it’s so important for companies to use behavior analytics to identify these employees that could eventually conduct an insider attack.
User behavior analytics can monitor instant messages, emails, and more to evaluate each employee’s writing. The software uses artificial intelligence to analyze employees’ writing to determine their opinions and sentiment. In other words, it will look for signs that the employee is unhappy with or angry at their employer.
It can also analyze writing to identify employees who are dealing with external stressors, such as financial hardship or conflict at home. The software will flag these employees to let managers know that they could evolve into a potential threat in the future.
User behavior analytics won’t just protect your company’s sensitive data—it can protect your employees as well. Utilizing user behavior analytics to analyze employees’ writing could also help companies identify employees who plan on committing acts of workplace violence.
Should You Use Behavior Analytics?
Every company—regardless of size or industry—could fall victim to an insider cyber attack. Some companies wait until they have suffered a data breach before implementing security measures. Don’t make this mistake. A single data breach can cause severe reputational and financial damage to your company, so you shouldn’t wait until the damage is done to take action. Every company can benefit from using behavior analytics to detect insider threats before they become bigger security issues.
Take the proactive approach to preventing data breaches by using Veriato employee monitoring and insider threat detection software. This software utilizes user behavior analytics to help companies detect and immediately respond to potential insider threats. With Veriato, you can finally gain the insight you need to protect your company.