Though you trust your employees to handle your business, they may not always know the best security practices. An uneducated team could attract unwanted attention. So, how can you protect your business from internal cyber threats?

Worse still, you may also have employees that intend to cause harm to your company by breaking its securities pratices.

In either case, small business owners need to patch up potential. These steps below will guide you on how to protect your small business from internal cyber threats.

Plan for Internal Issues

Falling victim to cybercrime can be the death of a small business. An internal cyber threats can cost a company an average of $200,000, and that loss could be too much for a small business to take.

So you absolutely should be on the lookout for cybercriminals, but you must also keep an eye on your staff. Reports say that 75% of employees have stolen from their jobs at least once, and that could include customer and business data.

The simple truth is, it’s not a matter of “if” you’re going to experience a cyberattack or the fallout of an internal threat — it’s a matter of “when.”

Unfortunately, plenty of small business owners think they’ll fly under the radar, not realizing that automated tactics and scams make poorly-secured organizations like them the ideal targets for cybercrime.

Not only that but as technology advances, so do the tactics used by threat actors. It’s an ever-escalating situation, and any business, big or small, that doesn’t stay apprised of the latest in 21st-century tech and security is in for a rude awakening.

This is why it’s vital to be proactive and practice proper cyber hygiene throughout your company.

One of the most critical steps to take is completing a risk assessment. A risk assessment entails identifying potential business hazards and implementing plans to take care of them. 

This assessment should include everything from unexpected scenarios like the COVID-19 pandemic to terrorist attacks and internal and external cyber threats.

The plan should cover how you will react to each method. For example, how will you recover lost data? What protections will be given to the customers? Create a team and assign tasks to each individual, so they know their part and can act swiftly when the need arises. And especially learn how to protect your small business from internal cyber threats. 

Also Read: Why You Should Protect Your Business Using a Non-Compete Agreement

Prevent Internal Vulnerabilities

Hackers often focus on small businesses because they know they may not be up to date on current threats. Just one employee misstep could result in a significant breach.

For instance, criminals can easily access computer systems with weak passwords, so all systems should require frequently updated complex passwords and two-factor authentication.

Phishing scams are prevalent, with reports showing that 74% of organizations in the United States have experienced a successful phishing attack. Therefore, employees should be educated on the ‌emails they should not open, including those with attachments and links they are not expecting.

Your IT team should also have protections that scan incoming emails for signs of phishing scams, so the threat is eliminated on the spot.

When collecting information over the phone or online, management needs to plan to ensure that fraud does not occur. Your company likely has red flags for potential fraud (location of order taker, high transaction amounts), but the suspected fraud can be handled properly instead of just canceling the order.

Actual fraud examples should be shown to the team, so they know what to look for. Better yet, set up a fraud monitoring framework that automatically handles threats, so employees don’t have to worry and there is less room for error.

Last but not least, ensure that any hardware containing sensitive information is disposed of properly. For example, when you upgrade equipment like hard drives or have to retire a computer, it is essential to make sure no information can be harvested from your old drives. 

Hard drive destruction, such as hard drive shredding, is vital for security and compliance with laws. In addition, with hard drive shredding, there is no way for any data to be recovered, which increases security. 

Prevent Employee Threats

As sad as it is to say, cyber threats may come from inside in the form of a rogue employee with bad intentions. This could include an employee who feels they were wronged or someone trying to sell information to a competitor.

Employees looking to steal information can download data or email information to their accounts. To prevent such actions, make sure downloads are restricted and all emails sent outside the company are screened for sensitive information.

In the same vein, you’ll want to ensure sensitive hardware is secure against potential bad actors within your walls. This means keeping track of when sensitive hardware is most likely to go missing, such as during inventory redistribution and reorganization events, and using physical security systems like man-traps to protect sensitive terminals, servers, and access points.

Sometimes it’s not what you can do with your systems but how you manage your people. For example, when hiring new staff, complete a background check emphasizing fraud and theft.

When an employee leaves your organization, remove all system access so they can’t get back in. You should also develop a clean desk policy where private data is stored securely in locked drawers so it can’t be seen by prying eyes.

Finally, the best way to learn how to protect your business from internal cyber threats is to have regular security awareness training sessions where all employees are educated on current threats and how to catch them. During these classes, explain the types of internal security violations and the severe consequences for any employee who violates them.

Also Read: How to Boost Business Growth in a Highly Competitive Market


As the owner or manager of a small business, it’s heartbreaking to think that a cyber attack could come at the hands of one of your employees. To mitigate these unsettling possibilities, create risk assessments, educate the staff on current threats, and make your expectations known.

A complete understanding of how to protect your small business from internal cyber threats is a sure way to keep cyber attacks away from your small business.