The Top 7 Insider Threats Every Company Should Be Aware Of

Understanding the top insider threats from within

In today’s volatile and interconnected world, safeguarding a company’s assets is not just about fending off external cyber-attacks and physical breaches. However, an often overlooked risk comes from within — the insiders. According to industry reports and research, insider threats represent a significant proportion of all security incidents. Understanding these threats is the first step in mitigating risks and fortifying your organisation. At Signpost Six, we are committed to helping organisations stay one step ahead of these threats. Here, we present the top 7 insider threats every company should be aware of.


One of the three most common intentional insider acts according to Carnegie Mellon University, sabotage involves deliberate attempts to undermine an organisation. Whether through technological means or manual interference, sabotage can cripple a company’s operations and tarnish its reputation.

Data Theft

Data theft is alarmingly common and involves the illicit access and removal of sensitive information from the company’s databases. This can range from proprietary source code to highly sensitive intellectual property. Understanding the triggers and signs of potential data theft is vital in preempting such incidents. 


Espionage is the clandestine acquisition of confidential information without permission. The realm of insider risk categorizes espionage into economic, industrial, and academic, each with its unique motives and mechanisms. Economic espionage, in particular, serves the interests of foreign states and can significantly compromise national security. One sector that sees a lot of IP theft is the Chemical Industry, almost 30% of the industry turnover depends on trade secrets.

Insider Risk Evaluation

Unauthorised Disclosure

Unauthorised disclosure differs from data theft by its focus on the release of classified information to unauthorised entities, often the media. These incidents can be particularly damaging when they involve classified or strategic data and can lead to both financial and reputational damage.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a significant but often overlooked aspect of insider risk. With millions reporting incidents annually, according to the U.S. National Safety Council, organisations cannot afford to sideline this issue. Preventive measures and early interventions can drastically reduce the risk of workplace violence.

Fraud and Corruption

Fraud involves deception for unjust gain and is among the top three most frequent insider threats. Corruption takes this a step further, targeting not just financial assets but also the integrity of the organisation. Both can have long-lasting and devastating impacts on an organisation. Moreover, one particular industry that is frequently in the news for it’s corruption cases is the Shipping Industry

Insider Trading

Insider trading is the illicit exchange of non-public, key company information to execute stock trades. Not only does insider trading break the law, but it also erodes market confidence and can lead to severe financial and reputational damage.

Man initiating a phishing call, social engineering

Mitigation Strategies for Managing Insider Threats

Managing insider risks involves a multi-faceted approach that combines technological, psychological, and organisational measures:

  1. Technological Measures: Implementation of advanced monitoring tools that can detect unusual activity, data loss prevention software, and robust multi-factor authentication can form the first line of defense.

  2. Psychological Measures: Regular mental health checks, stress management workshops, and confidential counseling services can help in the early identification of potential insider risks.

  3. Organisational Culture: Creating an inclusive and transparent work environment can reduce grievances and dissatisfaction that often lead to insider acts.

  4. Training and Awareness: Regular training sessions on the importance of data security and the potential legal consequences of insider threats can act as a deterrent.

  5. Legal Framework: Clearly articulated contracts that spell out the consequences of insider acts can also act as a powerful preventive measure.

  6. Regular Audits and Assessments: Frequent security audits and assessments can identify vulnerabilities and ensure that security measures are up-to-date.

By adopting a comprehensive approach that marries human understanding with technological solutions, organisations can significantly mitigate the risk of insider threats. This balanced approach is at the heart of Signpost Six’s philosophy, aimed at fortifying organisations from within.


By proactively understanding and monitoring these top 7 insider threats, organisations can significantly reduce their risk profile and better protect their assets and workforce. For comprehensive solutions on managing insider risks, Signpost Six offers specialised services and expertise to help organisations adopt best practices and mitigate risks effectively.

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