Intentional or Unintentional Security Compromise

Insider Threat

As the name gives it away, insider threat is the most common vulnerability to the organisation’s information security and IT infrastructure.

An intentional attempt to sabotage by a rogue current of a former employee or an unintentional, careless action by someone within the organisation, in both cases, the organisation’s reputation, potential financial and material losses, and other IT assets and resources would be at risk.

Organisations and the top management must understand threats to the operations from the inside to protect their assets and the interests of other associates such as organisations, employees or supply chain members.

Organisations should establish an Insider Threat Program.

Insider threats are particularly challenging to detect and mitigate because insiders typically have legitimate access to systems and data. Organisations need to establish and implement various security measures and best practices to effectively deal with this type of threat. The program should have clear objectives to deal with insider threats which could affect the organisation and it should outline the responsibilities of individuals and organisations for its success.

Establishing a program to deal with insider threats is vital, as it is an ongoing process that requires some technological solutions implementation of policies and with addition of cultural elements to the plan. It’s important to have a balance between maintaining security and preserving the trust and morale of your workforce. Collaboration among different aspects of operations, such as IT, security, HR, and legal teams is essential to deal with insider threats when they occur effectively.

Types of Insider Threat Actors

Threats to the organisation’s security from the inside can be intentional or unintentional but pose a significant challenge to the infrastructure. It can be from a current or former employee, a contractor, or a partner organisation. Here are some examples of insider threat actors:

Malicious Employee

An individual within the organisation may have motives and malicious intent to intentionally harm the organisation’s data, systems, or reputation.

Careless Employee

Carelessness can cause massive damage to an organisation’s security infrastructure; it could be due to lack of awareness or inadequate training but it could have serious consequences.


Organisations often outsource a section of their services and ask contractors to join and work, their physical access to the premises along with data access could be at risk, if not careful.

Former Employee

A procedure to block access and remove former employees from the organisation’s system has to be observed soon after they leave to avoid them from being involved in any data leaks.

Security Evader

Some individuals could pose a potential security threat, often unintentionally or acting lazy; for example, they biggy bag alongside someone else instead of presenting their identity to sign in to a building.

Partner Organisation

Partner organisations often have a piece of trusted information shared with them, a leak of that information out in the open might pose a threat to the organisation’s operations or reputation.

Preventing Insider Threats
It requires a multi-dimensional approach and change in the organisation's security culture.

It’s essential to balance establishing security measures and maintaining a positive work environment and trust within the organisation. Insider threats demand a different approach, a combination of technological controls, policies and procedures, and a change in the organisation’s security culture.

 Conduct a risk assessment to understand the sensitive organisational data and potential vulnerabilities to avoid someone leaking it.

Developing and maintaining a robust incident response plan customised explicitly for insider threats is crucial; ensuring that it has investigation, containment, and remediation procedures.

Implement user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA) to detect patterns that may indicate deviations from normal behaviour which could lead insider threats.

Ensuring that employees have access only to the data and systems required to perform their job duties by implementing the principle of least privilege.

Changing organisational culture and educating employees about security best practices, the risks associated with insider threats, and how to recognise and report suspicious activities.

Continuous monitoring of user’s access to sensitive data and systems, noticing any unusual access patterns, particularly during out-of-working hours.

Using DLP tools to monitor and prevent the unauthorised transfer or sharing of sensitive organisational data.

Follow the incident response plan promptly to investigate and mitigate the thread immediately after an insider threat is detected, Preserving evidence for potential legal or disciplinary actions is vital.