How to Plan Against an Insider Threat

//How to Plan Against an Insider Threat

Why are insider threats so severe? Because the information that’s leaked can potentially cause harm to your organization.

To stay on top of this, you’ll need some insider threat solutions to keep your workplace safe and know who has been attempting to steal your company’s sensitive information.

So keep reading and find out how you can effectively plan against insider threats. This will save you and your company hundreds if not millions of dollars down the line.

Types of Insider Threats

So what are the main actors behind an insider threat?

The first one is the Turncloak: This is an insider that is stealing data. In most situations its a contractor or an employee – someone on the network who has legitimate credentials, but they are abusing their access for profit or for fun.

There is a myriad of motives that we’ve seen that drives this behavior: From a hacker selling sensitive data to foreign documents to disgruntled employees sending documents to a competitor after losing their job.

Pawn: The pawn is a normal employee –  a do-gooder who follows the rules but is exploited by a bad employee: whether its accidentally sending a sensitive document to the wrong person or lose their laptop.

Imposter: While the turncloak is an insider employee gone rogue, the Imposter is an outsider who has insider credentials. They are on your network acting as a legitimate employee. Their main goal is to find the most important piece of information to send to their “host” to have access to the data and exfiltrate it without being noticed.

Common Behavioral Traits of an Insider Threat

How do you determine an insider threat? There are some common behaviors that can lead to an insider threat – whether in person or digitally. These indicators are important for security teams, CISOs and their other team to track, monitor, and analyze so they can identify potential insider threats.

Human Warning Signs

  • Discussions of new opportunities or resigning
  • Violates corporate policies
  • Attempts to bypass security
  • Shows disgruntled behavior towards staff and coworkers

Digital Warning Signs

  • Accessing sensitive data that’s not associated with the job
  • Copying files with sensitive information in their own folder
  • Emailing confidential data outside of the organization
  • Accessing or downloading substantial amounts of data
  • Network crawling and searching for unauthorized information

While the human behavioral warnings can show signs of future data breaches, having digital analytics and forensics is one of the most powerful insider threat solutions. Security analytics and User Behavior Analytics to help detect insider threats, analyzing and notifying when a user behaves outside of their behavior or suspiciously.

Insider Threat Defense Plan

  • Monitor emails, activity, and files on your primary data sources.
  • Discover the location and identity of your sensitive files
  • Determine what users have access to that data
  • Create and maintain a privilege model throughout your infrastructure
    • Eliminate Global Access Groups
    • Place data owners in charge of managing data permissions and delete temporary permissions quickly.
  • Use security analytics to receive alerts on negative employee behaviors including:
    • Attempts to access data that’s not apart of their job description.
    • Increased file activity in confidential/sensitive folders.
    • Large files of data being emailed outside of your company, outside of the normal job function.
  • Train and socialize your employees to have a data security mindset.


By using insider threat solutions, you’ll be able to protect the integrity of your business. No matter how many employees you have on board, try to use monitoring software to prevent them from shying away from your company’s policies. In conclusion, keep your data protected and stop insider threats before they become a major issue!



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