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CISA Releases New Tool to Help Organizations Prevent Insider Threats

Organizations across various industries spend their time and resources to mitigate impending cybersecurity threats to protect their assets and sensitive data. As new technologies come into play, more comprehensive cybersecurity measures are needed to protect these organizations.

We’re in a time when remote work has become the norm, thus making cybersecurity that much more of a priority for many organizations.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), based in Washington, D.C., released a new tool that can help organizations mitigate insider threats, a cybersecurity issue becoming increasingly prevalent across industries.

Let’s explore more about insider threats and how businesses can leverage this tool to protect themselves from potential insider threats.

The Growing Significance of Insider Threats

No industry is exempt from facing cybersecurity threats. Some industries, however, are more at risk compared to others. For example, 24% of all cyber threats in 2020 targeted the retail sector in 2020. Much of this is because customer credit card information is becoming increasingly valuable, so hackers will use any means necessary to access that type of information.

Retailers, amongst other types of businesses that are more vulnerable to attacks, need to implement more comprehensive security to ensure sensitive information is stored properly and stays out of the hands of would-be criminals.

One type of cybersecurity attack threatening corporate cybersecurity is insider threats. Insider threats are essentially attacks that insiders of an organization will carry out to harm that particular organization.

Insiders can be current or former employees or any other person who has or had authorized access or knowledge of an organization’s resources. For example, someone who was let go from a company or someone who set up network infrastructure for an organization could be considered an insider.

The risk of facing insider threats is becoming more prevalent. According to research from Forrester, it’s expected that the number of insider threats will increase by 8% in 2021.

Types of Insider Threats

These are the most common types of insider threats that organizations should be aware of:

  • The Pawn: Employees who get manipulated into engaging in malicious activities.
  • The Goof: Ignorant or arrogant users who think security policies do not apply to them.
  • The Lone Wolf: Users who act independently and maliciously without external influences.
  • The Collaborator: Users who cooperate with outsiders to commit a cybercrime.

Insiders will typically find vulnerabilities within an organization and abuse and exploit their access to locate sensitive information.

Organizations need to be even more vigilant in protecting themselves from incurring costs associated with dealing with insider threats, as costs are rising and no business wants to spend their resources mitigating these issues.

CISA’s Self-Assessment Tool for Insider Threats

CISA announced its Insider Risk Mitigation Self-Assessment Tool in September. The tool is essentially a questionnaire that organizations can use to determine the level of security they need to implement to protect themselves.

The tool is also designed to help government agencies and other entities prevent contractors, current and former employees, and other insiders from conducting malicious activities that could potentially harm the organization.

The self-assessment tool establishes a level of vulnerability for the organization. It also provides useful feedback to help the organization develop mitigation strategies and reduce the risk of insider threats to a reasonable degree. CISA’s tool is a downloadable PDF that focuses on three key areas:

  • Program management
  • Personnel and training
  • Data collection and analysis

Organizations looking to measure their vulnerability to these types of threats should consider using CISA’s tool.

CISA’s Role in Insider Threat Mitigation

Taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of facing insider threats is critical for many organizations. Consider leveraging CISA’s new self-assessment tool to determine how vulnerable your organization is so you can implement the appropriate measures to prevent any instances of insider threats.


Authorized users (insiders) may abuse legitimate privileges to masquerade as another user or to maliciously harvest important data.

An insider attack is much more difficult to detect and potentially more dangerous. Insiders to an organization may be former employees or system administrators who use their already existing privileges to harvest data or simply sabotage attacks.

Organizations have to be more proactive and not wait for a breach to happen to take action. When proper controls are not in place organizations risk losing their sensitive data often leading to financial losses and damage to their reputation.

Using persistent, granular access and usage controls along with real-time tracking and visibility can help prevent insider attacks. It is important to revoke access anytime there is a threat to your data.

SECUDE, a leading Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions provider based on Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP) and has helped organizations protect their sensitive SAP and CAD data from data thefts.

To know how SECUDE can help you prevent insider threats and provide a data-centric solution to protect your sensitive data send an email to

This blog was written by an independent guest blogger.

About the Author: Devin Partida



Devin Partida is cybersecurity and technology writer, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the tech blog ReHack.com.

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