In the intricate web of organisational security, insider risk emerges as a pivotal concern that demands both attention and action. At its core, insider risk refers to the potential harm to an organisation caused by individuals within the company—be they employees, contractors, or partners—who have access to sensitive information and systems. This risk can manifest through various forms, ranging from unintentional data leaks to deliberate acts of sabotage. As we delve deeper into this topic, we distinguish between two primary categories of insider threats: malicious insiders and negligent insiders, understanding that an astounding 99% of undesirable activity stems from the latter, negligent staff activity.

Malicious Insiders: A Deliberate Threat

Malicious insiders represent a fraction of the workforce who intentionally cause harm to the organisation. This could be for personal gain, such as selling confidential information on the dark web, or out of spite towards the company. Their actions are premeditated and can lead to significant financial and reputational damage. Despite being less common, the calculated nature of these threats makes them particularly dangerous and challenging to detect without sophisticated insider risk management platforms.

Negligent Insiders: The Unseen Majority

Negligent insiders, on the other hand, are employees whose actions unintentionally compromise security. This might involve mishandling data, falling prey to phishing attacks, or improper use of IT resources. Remarkably, negligent insiders account for approximately 99% of all undesirable security incidents within organisations. This high percentage underscores a critical aspect of insider risk: it is often not malice, but rather a lack of awareness or carelessness, that leads to security breaches.

The Critical Concern for Businesses

The emphasis on insider risk is not alarmist but rooted in a realistic assessment of its impact on businesses. Insider incidents can lead to direct financial losses, damage to an organisation’s reputation, legal penalties, and a loss of customer trust. Moreover, in an era where data is a key asset, the protection of sensitive information against insider threats is paramount for maintaining competitive advantage and compliance with data protection regulations.

For businesses, addressing this challenge requires a multifaceted approach. It involves not only sometimes strengthening technical controls but it does always fostering a culture of security awareness throughout the organisation. Insider risk management platforms, such as ShadowSight, play a crucial role in this strategy. These platforms provide a comprehensive solution for monitoring and analysing insider threats, offering near real-time insights and proactive measures to mitigate risk.

ShadowSight, for instance, leverages advanced analytics and risk based algorithms to detect unusual behaviour patterns that may indicate insider threats. By providing a holistic view of user activities and data movements, it enables security teams to quickly identify and respond to potential risks. Furthermore, these platforms almost always result in user education and engagement, helping to reduce negligent insider activities through increased awareness.

In Summary

Understanding and mitigating insider risk is a critical concern for businesses across the globe. With the vast majority of security incidents attributed to negligent staff activity, it is clear that organisations must adopt a comprehensive approach to insider risk management. Platforms such as ShadowSight offer valuable tools in this endeavour, combining technological sophistication with an emphasis on user education. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of insider risk, embracing these solutions will be key to safeguarding their assets, reputation, and future success.

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. ShadowSight transforms insider threat management by integrating Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) with behavioural analytics. This powerful combination dynamically adapts to both business operations and employee behaviours, efficiently identifying activities that pose organisational risks. This Australian innovation streamlines threat detection with user-friendly interfaces, eliminates ongoing professional services, and integrates seamlessly into existing business processes. It efficiently filters activities, applies custom rules, and offers comprehensive visibility through a single pane. ShadowSight provides a smarter approach to safeguarding against insider threats, distinguishing itself as the leader in adaptive security solutions.