Understanding and Managing Insider Risk: Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Insider Risk FAQ section! This resource has been created to help you gain a better understanding of the concept of insider risk, its impact on businesses, and the significance of effective insider risk management. Here, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, including definitions of insiders and insider risks, various types of risks, the role of insider risk management, and how our organisation, Signpost Six, can support your company in tackling these challenges. We’ll also discuss warning signs of potential insider risk behaviour and provide guidance on developing a robust insider risk management programme. Please explore the following questions to acquire valuable insights and strategies to protect your organisation from insider threats.


What is an Insider?

An insider is a person with authorised access to items that an organisation wishes to protect- information, people, and dangerous or valuable materials, facilities and equipment. They are employees, contractors, partners, interns or visitors at any level of an organisation. Read our blog on "What is Insider Risk" for further insights into the topic. Want to know what Inisder Risk is in German or in Dutch?

What is insider risk?

An insider risk, by definition, is the risk that an insider will use their authorised access to an organisation or their familiarity with internal controls to cause harm from the inside. These insiders may be self-motivated or manipulated to perform actions that breach security, but unintentional insiders can also inadvertently disrupt organisational operations by accident.

What types of insider risk are there?

Insider Risks can be intentional (malicious insiders) or unintentional (negligent insiders). They can involve data theft, fraud, sabotage, espionage, or intellectual property theft.

What is insider risk management

At Signpost Six we approach Insider Risk Management as the implementation and continuous effort of ensuring the well functioning of insider risk programmes across organisations. Such programmes aim to mitigate, detect and prevent insider risks in the workplace. An insider risk management programme focuses on different dimensions, but most importantly a thorough management approach means reassessing the insider threat environment, processes and countermeasures to reach desired maturity levels.

Why is insider risk management needed?

In recent years we have seen a stark increase in data theft as information has become increasingly valuable and vulnerable in a digitised world, and criminals are continually finding new ways to monetise confidential information, including personal data. With perimeter defences becoming more secure, external actors are increasingly leveraging insiders to accomplish their needs. These trends are likely to continue as the workplace becomes ever more networked and technologies like the Internet of Things and wearable technology emerge.

What is the impact of insider risk on your business?

In today’s time, Insider Risk can jeopardise businesses. Research conducted by Gurucul and the Cybersecurity Insiders estimated that remediation costs are higher than USD 100,000 in fifty per cent of the insider attacks. According to the Ponemon institute, large organisations that experienced an insider attack spent USD 17.9 million on average to resolve them. Organisations with a headcount below 500 spent an average of USD 7.7 million after experiencing an insider attack. These loss amounts are mostly attributed to impaired competitive advantage that results in lost revenue and lower market valuation. Large organisations can survive the loss of intellectual property but for smaller firms, the loss can jeopardise their existence.

How can Signpost Six help your organisation?

We have a range of experienced consultants that help clients succeed with tailored advice and management support. Whether it is advice on setting up an insider risk management programme, assessing the maturity of an existing programme, benchmarking your programme or discussing a sensitive situation in confidence – we stand ready to provide support.

Our insider risk management solutions help organisations improve their internal processes and become proactive. Are you interested in implementing an insider risk management programme within your organisation? We know how.

What are some warning signs of Insider Risk behaviour?

Warning signs of Insider Risk behaviour may include unusual system access patterns, unauthorised data transfers, policy violations, or sudden changes in an employee's work habits.

How can we develop an effective Insider Risk management programme?

Developing an effective Insider Risk management program involves establishing policies, procedures, training, monitoring, and incident response plans. Signpost Six can help you with that.

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