Posted in Insider Threat Management

Why is Insider Threat Detection Important?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You can only know what you know.

It doesn’t matter if you have an inkling, suspicion, or heard something through the grapevine, without true evidence-based visibility, you cannot truly detect insider threats within your organization. And with the cost of incidents so high ($8.76 million per incident, on average), insider threat detection is crucial.

Threat Self-Diagnosis

Say for instance, that you’re feeling unwell.

You know that you have a wet cough, your hands feel clammy, and you’ve got the chills. Based on this knowledge you might say that you’ve got a cold. A quick search through an online healthcare database confirms that you likely have a cold. Or the flu.

Or maybe its tuberculosis?

The only way to truly know (or at least, have a better diagnosis) is to seek out a healthcare professional, who can investigate other symptoms and perhaps find root-cause through bloodwork or other technical diagnostics tools that you simply don’t have easy access to.

The same can be said for insider threat detection. You can only know what you know, and from a resource perspective it would be near impossible to keep a watchful eye on every single employee, and third-party vendor or contractor’s user activity, let alone file activity.

You need help to do it well – and that’s OK!

What is Insider Threat Detection?

Insider threat detection is the capability to detect potential insider threats (employees, vendors/contractors) based on defined “risky” user activity, notify the right people, and provide data to help cybersecurity teams take the best possible course of action.

By deploying tools that focus on insider threat detection, you’re enhancing and maximizing your ability to stop incidents from occurring – or getting worse.

Insider Threat Detection Tools

For instance, with insider threat management software like ObserveIT, you can:

  1. See “risky” activity, as defined by your (customizable) insider threat detection rules
    (Viewable in timeline, application groups, or click-by-click video session playback)
  2. Trigger alerts that notify key people on your cybersecurity team, based on your rules
  3. Proactively pop-up notifications for the end user notifying them that their action is out-of-policy
  4. Stop applications from running if they are disallowed (or force user logouts)
  5. Track user activity and potential risk over time

There is a whole bunch more that is possible, but all these insider threat detection capabilities depend on one thing: having visibility into employee, third-party contractor/vendor, and file activity.

ObserveIT achieves this with lightweight tools and a hyper-efficient architecture that doesn’t burden the endpoint or user. (Meaning: they can still perform work without performance impact!)

Addressing User Privacy

Understandably, there are concerns with user privacy protection when obtaining visibility into potential insider threats. We’ve written on the subject before with our ‘Why You Should Bother with User Privacy & Data Anonymization’ article, but to summarize:

  1. User Privacy requires a strong company culture built around cybersecurity awareness
  2. User Privacy benefits from cybersecurity processes established to protect users and company data
  3. Technology should be chosen to support the User Privacy cybersecurity processes and culture

As a company, ObserveIT encourages organizations to find a good balance between people, processes, and technology to be more secure with their data. That’s why we’ve built in data anonymization tools that protect individual users from being identified based on their data and give access to select administrators.

Key Takeaways

In summary, insider threat detection capabilities are important, because they inform the rest of your insider threat management program. You only know what you know, and tools like ObserveIT can make it easier for cybersecurity teams to understand when their employees and third-party contractors/vendors are acting dangerously and react accordingly.


Interested in learning more about ObserveIT? Why not take it for a free test drive?

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