Insider Threat Management

Why is Insider Threat Detection Important?

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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 organisation. And with the cost of incidents so high ($8.76 million per incident, on average), insider threat detection is crucial.


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!


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 maximising your ability to stop incidents from occurring – or getting worse.


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

  1. See “risky” activity, as defined by your (customisable) 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.

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


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 Anonymisation’ article, but to summarise:

  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, Proofpoint encourages organisations 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 anonymisation tools that protect individual users from being identified based on their data and give access to select administrators.


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 Proofpoint ITM 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 Proofpoint ITM? Why not take it for a free test drive?