The Insider Threat: How Zero Trust Network Access Can Shield Against Internal Cyber Risks

February 3, 2024

In the cybersecurity realm, the focus is often on external threats: hackers, phishers, and the like. Yet, recent events remind us that danger can also come from within. A former chief operating officer (COO) of a cybersecurity company admitted hacking into US hospitals to drum up business for his firm. This incident spotlights the ominous potential of insider threats—a type of risk organizations can't overlook.

As reported by Cybernews, this story is more than just a cautionary tale. It's a wake-up call underscoring the need for stringent access controls and trust protocols within an organization's cybersecurity strategy. Here, we delve into the essence of insider threats and how a Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) approach, like the one pioneered by Remote.It, can act as a bulwark against such internal risks.

Understanding Insider Threats

An insider threat arises when someone with authorized access to an organization's networks—like an employee, contractor, or business partner—misuses that access to harm the organization. Threats can be data theft, sabotage, or illegal hacking, as in the recent scandal. The motives can vary from personal gain to corporate espionage or malicious intent.

The complexity of insider threats is that they are not just about keeping the bad actors out; it's about ensuring that those within do not turn into adversaries. Traditional security models operate on the assumption that threats can be kept at bay by defending the perimeter. But what happens when the enemy is already inside the gates?

The Zero Trust Paradigm

Enter Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). The Zero Trust security model operates on a simple principle: trust no one, verify everyone. Unlike conventional models that enforce security at the network perimeter, Zero Trust treats every access request as if it originates from an open network. It requires continuous verification of every user and device, whether within or outside the organization's network, before granting access to data and applications.

Remote.It designs its ZTNA solution to actively tackle the challenges posed by insider threats. It applies granular access controls to grant users and devices the minimum privilege necessary for task performance. This approach allows Remote.It to minimize the potential damage a compromised insider could inflict.

Applying ZTNA to Thwart Insider Threats

How does Remote.It's approach work in practical scenarios? Let's break it down:

Continuous Verification

Remote.It continuously authenticates and authorizes every request, ensuring that a user's or device's access rights are always current and aligned with the organization's policies. There's no room for complacency; just because a user was trusted once does not mean they are trusted forever.

Principle of Least Privilege

By granting access based on the principle of least privilege, Remote.It ensures that users have just enough access to perform their job—and nothing more. This significantly narrows down the avenues an insider could exploit for illicit activities.


Remote.It uses micro-segmentation to separate critical resources and sensitive data. Access to these segments is tightly controlled and monitored, making it difficult for an insider to access information that is not directly related to their job function.

No Visible Network

With Remote.It, network resources are kept from the public internet. This invisibility reduces the likelihood of an insider leveraging network visibility to identify potential targets or vulnerabilities.

Simplified Access Control Management

Finally, Remote.It simplifies the management of access controls. Centralizing and streamlining the process eliminates the human error often associated with complex firewall and access list configurations—errors that insiders might otherwise exploit.

The Bottom Line

The stark reality is that insider threats are a significant concern for organizations of all sizes. The case of the cybersecurity COO hacking hospitals is a vivid illustration of the type of risks that exist. Organizations must pivot to a security model that effectively addresses external and internal threats.

Remote.It's ZTNA solution presents a robust framework for organizations looking to bolster their defenses against insider threats by enforcing strict access controls, verifying trust at every turn, and ensuring that only necessary resources are accessible to each user Remote.It helps organizations protect against the unpredictable nature of insider risks. 

In today's interconnected world, where the boundaries of networks are ever-expanding, the Zero Trust model isn't just an option; it's a necessity. To read more about the incident that has brought the issue of insider threats to the forefront, visit the original news story on Cybernews.

The shift to Zero Trust with solutions like Remote.It isn't just about enhancing security—it's about building a resilient, future-proof organization that can thrive despite evolving cyber threats.

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