Malicious Deletion

Backing Up M365 Data

Malicious Deletion

Backing Up Your Data in Microsoft 365: Malicious Deletion

Learning that your data has been deleted and is being held for ransom is a security nightmare that nobody wants to face - but learning that your company’s data has been deleted by an employee is even more frightening. Unfortunately, malicious deletion isn’t just a nightmare scenario for CIOs and security professionals – it’s a reality.

IT professionals across all industries must realize that malicious deletion is a very real cybersecurity threat and take steps to guard against it. While some tactics, like only allowing employees access to certain locations, can be effective, it is still crucial to ensure your data is regularly backed up. Unfortunately, some malicious insider threats are impossible to prevent, so it is important to have a plan for restoring deleted files quickly. Otherwise, your organization may come to a grinding halt, or worse even, your valuable digital assets could be lost forever.

Sadly, malicious insiders are a bigger problem than most people think, and the damage they are capable of can be debilitating for companies. In one study, criminal insiders who deleted files cost an average of $756,000 per incident. That is more than twice the amount of the average incident caused by a negligent insider!

Preventing malicious attacks towards your organization should be a priority no matter which industry you’re in – and malicious attacks from internal employees should be taken just as seriously as external threats. Let’s take a look at how malicious deletion works, and how your organization can stop it from occurring.

Here’s a scenario: Amy is the head of an internal audit team at a mid-sized corporation that frequently works on Federal and World Bank contracts. Due to the stringent nature of these financial institutions, they require regular internal audits for how grant money is spent. Of her team of 5, one employee (Bob) has had several unsatisfactory performance reviews in a row. Amy has tried all of the HR-approved tips and tricks to salvage the situation: she offered Bob additional training and even created an open-door policy for anyone who needs additional guidance. Unfortunately, the salvage operation was ineffective for getting Bob back on track so Amy needed to have an honest discussion with him regarding his future with the company. Despite her best efforts, this conversation left Bob feeling alienated and disgruntled. His insecurity has now transformed into anger as he senses that termination is inevitable.

Bob channels his anger at Amy by sabotaging company data via his Microsoft 365 access. As a member of the audit team, he was given considerable access to a wide expanse of company data across multiple departments. The result: malicious deletion of large volumes of valuable data.

Unfortunately, Amy’s company doesn’t have a sophisticated data backup strategy in place. The last time the system was backed up was prior to Amy’s recent work on an important report for the World Bank. The report is gone forever and she has to start from scratch. Since the report drew data from multiple sources that are now wiped off the network, she has to try and recreate the huge data sets she used for her report – a tall order that can not only threaten Amy’s job performance, but also threaten the reputation of the organization as a whole.

BackupSimple from SoftwareONE Helps Mitigate Risk in a Complex World

The threat of a cyber-attack from the inside is nothing new. Disgruntled employees have been sabotaging their employers’ networks and stealing data since the early days of widespread internet usage in the 1990s. But despite years of warnings against “the enemy within”, malicious deletion and other insider threats are on the rise.

According to one study, the risk of insider threats was already dire with around half of the organizations in the study experiencing at least one malicious insider incident during the year prior. However, a new study by The Ponemon Institute found that the outlook is even more grim, with the number of cybersecurity incidents originating from inside organizations growing by 47% between 2018 and 2020.

Insider threats may be one of the most overlooked areas of cybersecurity. It’s not hard to understand why: many organizations thoroughly vet their employees before hiring and believe that they have chosen trustworthy workers. This is compounded by IT thought leaders and media outlets frequently discussing widening the threat landscape and the growing complexity of cyber-attacks from outside sources. Companies already have a lot on their hands when it comes to securing their networks and data – protecting against disgruntled employees has become more of an afterthought.

To make matters worse, digital ecosystems are now more complex than ever so it’s even harder for security professionals to protect their organizations from insider threats. One reason is the rise in remote work which increases the need for more people to connect and access data from anywhere. With adoption rates for platforms like Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) rising sky high, securing the corporate digital landscape is more important than ever.

To complicate matters even further, digital transformation has changed the face of the insider threat. Now, with the rise of cloud adoption, the gig economy, and the increased use of digital services, there are more “insiders” to consider. Vendors, contract workers, freelancers, and third-party partners have access to the network, albeit in varying degrees.

It all boils down to this: more people connected to the network equals more risk. But people should be one of your organization’s largest assets so you cannot simply deny them access just to keep your data safe. In a work environment enabled by collaborative solutions like Microsoft 365, where users from all over your company can connect and collaborate, having your data backed up automatically is a smart way to mitigate insider threats like malicious deletion. BackupSimple does this for you by providing a unified management solution to help you mitigate the risk of losing your data forever after a malicious deletion incident at your company.

Some Key Aspects of BackupSimple

BackupSimple’s managed data backup offers companies multiple benefits to give them leverage against the threat of malicious deletion by an insider. One of the reasons insider threats are so serious is that they can be extremely hard to identify. It’s difficult for security professionals to distinguish when an insider is simply performing everyday tasks versus planning an attack. And it is simply not feasible to hope, against all odds, for a complete elimination of inside threats.

A safer, smarter plan is to mitigate the impact and be ready to get systems back up as quickly as possible if and when someone with authorized access to your data decides to launch an attack.

BackupSimple: A Smart Strategy for Keeping Microsoft 365 Safe

Besides providing automatic, frequent backups of your data, BackupSimple is part of a smart security strategy for a number of reasons. BackupSimple simplifies the complexity of backing up your Microsoft 365 data, eliminating the need to deploy a patchwork of third-party solutions. With backup status transparency, you will always know that your data is safe should a malicious deletion incident occur. While the hope is always that your employees would never attack your data, you can never truly know. And with BackupSimple, you’re always safe.

Understand Every Use Case

To learn more, download our free eBook “Backing Up Your Data in Microsoft 365”, where we break down the basics of how to keep your data safe in M365.

Get your free copy here

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Mathew Showers

Global Best Practice Manager - Technology Services

Data Backup, BackupSimple

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