You And I: The Not So Obvious Insider Threat

BeyondTrust, December 6th, 2011

Remember the scene in Jerry Maguire where he has returned to his office to collect his stuff, after learning he has been let go, and he has a bit of a freak-out on the way out the door, grabbing the goldfish and making bold claims about the company he is going to build that will ruin his former employer?

For most of us, that is the perfect visual of a disgruntled former employee and potential insider threat, raising our red flags to immediately take action to remove any and all access privileges that employee had.

But what about the threats which are in much more mundane packaging? The threats posed by you and me – employees that would never dream of deliberately causing harm to our employer, but that pose just as great a risk of an insider threat, albeit accidental. Over privileged and poorly monitored, these employees have the potential to cause as much damage as the obviously disgruntled.

While the percent of breaches that happen by accident is substantially less than the percent of intentional insider threats, according to the 2011 Verizon Data Breach Report, it is important not to overlook this possibility and to ensure that the right privilege identity management policies are in place. A simple misdirected email, such as the case with Stanford Hospital is all the proof you need that accidental insider breaches can happen, to anyone, at any time and the only way to thwart them is to implement strategic corporate security policies with least privilege.