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The Insider Threat Security Manifesto Beating the threat from within

The Edward Snowden effect: is awareness of insider threats growing?

We’ve mentioned that Edward Snowden’s actions last year put insider threats on the media agenda, but how has that translated into the consciousness of IT professionals?

We asked whether IT professionals worry more about insider threats more now than they did 12 months ago, and 19% said that they did. More specifically, 12% said that they are more aware since the Edward Snowden scandal.

Interestingly, this number was marginally higher in the UK, where the story was broken, than the US where it actually took place, with 13% of UK IT professionals agreeing and 11% in the US.

Again, it is within larger organisations that the concern about insider threats has grown most. 38% of IT professionals in organisations of over 250 employees told us they have become more concerned in the last 12 months, compared to 17% for those of 250 and under.

Our assumption that risk of the occurrence of insider threats is greater within larger organisations was also borne out in asking where internal security breaches have actually occurred in the last year.

On average, 12% of organisations told us they had suffered an internal security breach in the last year. This number was higher in the UK at 14%, compared to 9% in the US. Given there were 2.17 million businesses registered in the UK in 2013, this suggests that there were over 300,000 internal security breaches in the UK last year. Of the 7.4 million businesses with employees in the US, this translates to at least 666,000 occurrences of internal security breach.

So this may constitute some of the 19% of IT decision makers that told us they have become more worried about insider threats in the last 12 months; naturally you would be more concerned about a security issue once you have experienced it.

My organisation has had an internal security breach(es) in the past year

  • < 250 employees 10.8%
  • 250 - 500 employees 31.0%
  • 501 - 10,000 employees 29.4%
  • > 10,000 employees 35.3%