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Is Your Insider Threat Risk Management Program Ripe for Innovation? Part 1


Two questions you should be asking yourself about your organization’s insider threat program:

  1. What is the probability that your organization will experience an insider threat?  The assumption is that the probability is probably low.  Again, that fateful mental model based on the perception that “the worst-case scenario is also the least probable’ applies to an organization’s efforts to stand up even a minimum viable product (MVP)-level insider threat or counter cyber espionage program.  The reality is 34% of all breaches in 2018 were caused by insiders (a), yet less than 20% of U.S. organizations possess effective security programs to combat it. (b)
  2. What will be the impact if your organization experiences an insider threat incident or damage linked to insider activity?  “The results range from information leakage and national security breaches to workplace violence and even reputational damage. Insiders’ unintentional actions can be equally damaging. Clearly, a robust insider threat program that protects government resources, employees, and contractors can deliver significant value and reduce associated risks.”  (1)

Government efforts to implement insider threat programs have increased and improved steadily since OODA CTO BOb Gourley’s initial analysis of the severity of the threat and since they were mandated in 2011 by Executive Order 13587.  Private-sector efforts tend to be less uniform across the Fortune 500 (depending on the industry sector and threat exposure as determined by the parent company) and SMB insider threat programs probably lean towards non-existent.

Besides assessments and evaluations, generating threat matrices, countless meetings with vendors, and working on draft versions of an internal, bare-bones “What to do in the event of an Insider Threat Handbook“,  how can a serious internal commitment to the design process and collective intelligence (aka community-driven insider threat initiatives) give this often ignored sub-sector of risk management the priority it requires within your organization, driven by innovation?

Following are a few initiatives that are thinking differently about insider threat program implementation through innovative architectures, collective intelligence, advanced analytics, and the use of publicly available information (PAI).  Community-based and partner collaborations up and down the supply chain are also a hallmark of these efforts, as there is a growing acknowledgment that internal-facing and traditionally siloed insider threat efforts are part of the problem.

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.