The role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is undoubtedly a complex one, balancing multiple facets of an organisation's information security needs. While external threats often dominate the narrative, there is growing evidence that internal risks can be just as damaging. The challenge lies in recognising and addressing these risks proactively. Let's delve into some of the common concerns CISOs might have about initiating an insider risk management program, and why these concerns—although understandable—should be reconsidered.

"Insider Risk is a Minor Issue"

Some CISOs might underestimate the prevalence or potential impact of insider risk, particularly in well-meaning organisations where the focus has largely been on external threats. While this perspective is rooted in a faith in organisational culture, the stark reality is that nearly 50% of data breaches are facilitated by insiders. Ignoring this issue is not an option; rather, it's a facet of security that merits as much attention as external threats.

"The Challenge Seems Too Big to Tackle"

Another concern CISOs often have is the perceived complexity and enormity of managing insider risks. While it's true that no solution offers absolute protection, a well-structured program encompassing people, process, and technology can significantly mitigate these risks. The challenge is not insurmountable; it simply needs to be broken down into manageable tasks, each contributing to a more secure organisational environment.

"Budget Constraints"

Financial considerations inevitably come into play when contemplating any new initiative. However, the costs of not addressing insider risk can be substantial, including potential regulatory fines and reputational damage. In the grand scheme, a proactive insider risk program could be far less expensive than the costs incurred from even a single internal data breach.

"Limited Time and Resources"

It's common for CISOs to feel stretched thin, given the multitude of security concerns they must manage. Time constraints are a real issue, but it's essential to consider the long-term benefits. An upfront investment in a proactive insider risk program can yield significant future time-savings by preventing internal incidents that require resource-intensive remediation.

The Way Forward: A Balanced View

It's understandable that CISOs might have reservations about initiating an insider risk management program. Nevertheless, the shifting cybersecurity landscape calls for a comprehensive approach that includes proactive measures against internal threats.

In an increasingly complex security environment, adopting an insider risk management strategy that employs a multi-layered approach can be an effective and prudent course of action. It provides a structured way to identify, manage, and mitigate risks, transforming the security posture from reactive to proactive. The initial efforts required to set up such a program are an investment in the long-term health and safety of the organisation, and the returns are well worth it.

While the concerns of CISOs regarding insider risk management are not without merit, they should be carefully weighed against the substantial benefits of a proactive approach. In an era of ever-increasing risks, the advantages of a comprehensive security posture that includes attention to internal threats are too significant to ignore.

Christopher McNaughton

Strategic Advisor, ShadowSight

Who is Christopher McNaughton

Chris is a proficient problem solver with a strategic aptitude for anticipating and addressing potential business issues, particularly in areas such as Insider Threat, Data Governance, Digital Forensics, Workplace Investigations, and Cyber Security. He thrives on turning intricate challenges into opportunities for increased efficiency, offering pragmatic solutions derived from a practical and realistic approach.

Starting his career as a law enforcement Detective, Chris transitioned to multinational organisations where he specialised and excelled in Cyber Security, proving his authority in the field. Even under demanding circumstances, his commitment to delivering exceptional results remains unwavering, underpinned by his extraordinary ability to understand both cyber and business problems swiftly, along with a deep emphasis on active listening.

What is ShadowSight

ShadowSight is an innovative insider risk staff monitoring tool that proactively guards your business against internal threats and safeguards vital data from unauthorised access and malicious activities. We offer a seamless integration with your current systems, boosting regulatory compliance while providing unparalleled visibility into non-compliant activities to reinforce a secure digital environment. By prioritising actionable intelligence, ShadowSight not only mitigates insider threats but also fosters a culture of proactive risk management, significantly simplifying your compliance process without the overwhelming burden of false positives.