Industry Insights

Don’t Poison Your Employee Experience With the Wrong Approach to Insider Threat

5 min Read

Abhik Mitra

The year 2019 was a harsh reminder that as much as organizations try to downplay insider threats, they cannot be ignored or overlooked. Organizations like Capital One, McAfee (itself an insider threat solution) and even Apple can attest as they all found themselves on the wrong side of the headlines. Needless to say, as the year wrapped up, many 2020 predictions and resolutions included a better approach to insider threat.   

Forrester’s aptly titled report, “Don’t Poison Your Employee Experience With The Wrong Approach To Insider Threat” is timely! As much as we don’t want to admit the obvious, our colleagues are among the biggest threats to the data security of our organizations. But there’s a balance between understanding malicious and non-malicious intent. And with the CCPA and GDPR serving as backdrops to data privacy, security organizations have their work cut out in balancing the security and productivity of end users. No easy feat!

My Top 5 Takeaways on Forrester’s Latest Report on Insider Threat:

  1. Make your insider threat program fit within the overall security program. We know incident response processes have taken center stage in the security world. It’s all about decreasing time to detect and respond to threats. Insider threat needs to be a part of the overall incident process. Few organizations have well-defined incident response scenarios for insider threats, but that trend is changing fast.
  2. Don’t let security become a burden on employee productivity. Code42 has been saying this for quite some time and it’s worth repeating. Security is often confronted with a crossroads situation. Traditionally, the idea of prevention (otherwise known as Data Loss Prevention) has operated on the notion of blocking suspected users from carrying out their jobs. This approach is outdated and comes at the cost of collaboration. A new wave of solutions are paving the way for a security strategy rooted in protection, and one that embraces collaboration.
  3. The Collaboration Culture is a Security Culture. Gone are the days where security is a dreaded practice with productivity stalling implications. Today’s security culture is about embracing collaboration and why not? Ask any CEO what their top digital transformation initiatives are and they’re likely to put “better collaboration” near the top of the list.
  4. Technology and human intelligence fuel your insider threat program. Emerging insider threat programs are made up of people and technology. While many organizations have relied on technology to solve a very human program, it’s clear that understanding user behavior patterns, what drives user actions and predicting users’ next moves are equally important. In the end, an insider threat program is all about speeding up time to respond to a threat. By combining technology and human intelligence, you are building yourself an all-encompassing program that covers multiple vectors.
  5. Code42 takes the focus off users and instead focuses on file behavior. And of course, I have to mention Code42 here. While many security solutions are solely focused on user behaviors and actions, our approach has been simply rooted in understanding the behavior of the file. And it’s very simple logic… In the end, the malicious end user is after your “data,” so understanding everything about that data is paramount. As I like to say, “don’t follow the employee, follow the data.” With data privacy becoming more important and organizations growing more mindful of being “big brother,” an approach rooted in data will only become more important and compelling.

2020 will undoubtedly be another breakthrough year for insider threat. There will be more headlines, innovative security solutions and smarter insiders. In the midst of this growing problem, it’s good to see Forrester remind us that building an effective insider threat program doesn’t have to come at the cost of killing your employee experience. An effective security strategy coupled with a productive workforce? I say bring on 2020.

Download the complimentary Forrester report here.

Abhik Mitra

Abhik is a senior product marketing manager at Code42 and brings 10+ years of experience in enterprise technology. He is the strategic conduit between the customer, product management, sales and marketing teams. He is passionate about creating compelling content and communications to demonstrate the strengths of tech solutions. Prior to Code42, he served as a global product manager for companies such as Xiotech, Kroll Ontrack and Imation.