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Insider Threats: Mitigating Risks From Within Your Organization 

As cybercrime is rising, businesses are becoming more attentive to protecting their organizations against external threats. However, many businesses fail to recognize that the biggest threat to their organization often lies within their own walls. Insider threats can cause major damage to an organization. These may impact one’s finances, reputation, and even its existence. The frequency and intensity of insider threats are elevating. Because of this increase, it has become more important for the executives to know the risks and take precautionary measures to mitigate them. 

What Is an Insider Threat?

Insider threat is the ability of an insider to utilize their authorized access to harm that organization. This harm may include complacent, malicious, or unintentional acts. These can adversely affect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of an organization. An insider is an individual who has authorized access to an organization’s resources. These resources may include facilities, personnel, equipment, information, networks, and systems. Some examples of an insider may include:

  • A person whom the organization trusts. It can be an employee, team members, and those to whom the company has given sensitive access or information. 
  • A person to whom the company has supplied network access or a computer.
  • A person who establishes the company’s services and products. This group includes those who know the product secrets that provide value to the company. 
  • A person who knows about the fundamentals of the organization. It may include costs, pricing, and organizational strengths and weaknesses.
  • A person who knows the business goals and strategies. They may also be knowledgeable about the future plans or the resources to sustain the organization. 

In simple words, the insider can be any person who has access to protected information. If this information is compromised, it could cause damage to public safety and national security. 

How to Detect an Insider Threat

To defend your company against an insider threat, you must look for any anomalous digital and behavioral activity. 

Digital Indicators

  • Signing into enterprise networks and applications at unusual times. For example, an employee signing into the network at an unusual time may be a cause for concern. 
  • A surge in network traffic volume. If someone is trying to duplicate a large quantity of data across the network, you can detect it. It can be done by noticing unusual spikes in the network traffic. 
  • Accessing resources that they usually are not permitted to. 
  • Accessing data that is irrelevant to their job function.
  • Utilizing unauthorized devices like USB drives.
  • Deliberate search and network crawling for sensitive information
  • Emailing any sensitive data outside the company.

Behavioral Indicators

  • A discontented or dissatisfied employee, vendor, contractor, or partner.
  • Regular working on off-hours.
  • Attempts to avoid security
  • Showing discontent toward co-workers.
  • Discussing new opportunities or contemplating resignation.
  • Regular violation of organizational policies.

How to Mitigate the Insider Threats and Risks

Consider, you have an Event Management Platform, an insider can use the sensitive information to harm your plans. Hence, mitigating and preventing insider threats is essential to secure a company’s integrity and progress. 

Conduct Enterprise-wide Risk Assessments

Know your essential assets, their vulnerabilities and the threats they may encounter. Make sure to include the different risks caused by insider threats. Focus on the risks and consistently improve your IT security infrastructure. Implement security measures considering the risks as a priority. 

Document and Enforce Policies and Controls

Joe Cronin, President of International Citizens Insurance, said, “Your company’s security software appliances and solutions must have their management policy. Furthermore, they should also have configuration documentation. Work with your HR to establish policies about every employee interaction with the IT environment. For instance, create general data protection regulations, a third-party access policy, and an incident response policy. All these policies should be signed by your CEO and verified by your legal department. It is very essential to document what actions should be taken. Moreover, document what penalties will be applied if someone violates a policy.”

Establish Physical Security

Harrison Jordan, Managing Lawyer of Substance Law, said, “Hire an expert professional security team who strictly follows your security instructions. They should prevent any suspicious people from entering spaces with critical IT objects. These may include rooms with switch racks or server rooms. Ask security to inspect everyone at the entrance for IT appliances. Additionally, have them document everything they find that is against the security baseline. Instruct everyone to disable their mobile phone cameras while they are in the facility. Do not forget to lock all server rooms.“

Implement Strict Account Management Policies and Practices

All the company’s users should enter the systems by entering credentials personalizing them. Every user must have a unique ID and password for logins. Follow best practices for passwords and account management to implement the policies correctly.

Control and Monitor Remote Access From All Endpoints

Anna Harris, ESL instructor at Californiadegree, said, “Position and configure wireless intrusion prevention and detection systems. Also, deploy mobile data interception systems as well. Review whether employees still need remote access or a mobile device. Make sure to terminate all remote access whenever the employees leave the organization. “

Enable Surveillance 

Control all important facilities in your organization by video cameras with night vision and motion sensors. Enable session screen-capture technology on all the critical devices and servers owned by privileged users.

Do a Proper Recycle of Your Old Documentation and Hardware

 Before you discard or recycle a disk drive, erase all the data from it. Make sure that no one can recover the data. Do a physical destruction of old hard disks and other IT devices containing critical data. You can assign a professional IT engineer to control this process to avoid any risks. 

Implement Secure Archiving, Recovery, and Backup Processes

Vicky Cano, Chef & Recipe developer at Mealfan, said, “Configure and implement mailbox and file archiving. Build a backup system and establish a backup policy that needs a full backup at least every month. Moreover, develop and test a disaster recovery plan. If even a small part of the recovery or backup process is outsourced, the account may have the possibility that an insider is employed by a trusted business partner. “

Implement Two-Factor Authentication

If you want to add an extra layer of security, enforce two-factor authentication. You can implement this feature on the employees that have access to sensitive data. With two-factor authentication, you can alleviate the risk of an insider getting unauthorized access. It can also provide added insights into user behavior. You can do so by monitoring login attempts and authentication requests. Enforce a policy where two separate users are required to authorize the activity if someone needs to access critical data or assets. It is usually known as the four-eyes principle. The sensitive assets are prime targets for potential attackers and cannot be left unguarded. If there are requirements for other user roles to be involved in the authorization procedure, it will further reduce the risks of insider threats.


Reducing insider threats needs a proactive strategy. It involves different approaches that a company can implement. These may include performing thorough background checks and establishing a security-first culture. Furthermore, companies must implement access controls and monitor employee activity. With the right security technology and strategies, companies can prepare better to defend themselves against rising insider threats. The C-level executive should have the responsibility to make sure that the company is prepared for any insider threats. They should also take proactive measures to reduce the potential risks. Follow the best practices and mitigate the risks to protect the organization’s assets and resources.