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The Insider Threat Is Greater Than You Might Think

Dr. Eric Shaw???s Tuesday keynote at the MIS Training Institute's IT Security World Conference 2007 is a sobering presentation about the underlying causes of and dangers in mishandling the rogue or disgruntled employee.
A clinical psychologist and former intelligence officer, Dr. Shaw???s insights into the stresses and indicators is enlightening. Social behaviors in the person, such as poor social skills, turn building, sense of entitlement and poor impulse control, in addition to other responses like walking on eggshells around the person, tolerating bad behavior because that's how the person is, and conflict avoidance, are all indicators of a potential employee problem. Shaw is careful to point out that those indicators don???t necessarily lead to the conclusion that an employee is a problem, but in most cases, the problem employee exhibited these behaviors.

Interestingly, as more and more interactions move online via e-mail, IM, and other collaboration tools, analysis technologies have sprung up that can detect potential issues for further review. WarmTouch software, an analysis program developed to analyze e-mails for indicators of malicious activity, can give an early warning so that problems can be dealt with before they get out of hand.

Insiders pose a bigger threat than just attacking IT systems???IP has been stolen, systems destroyed, employees threaten and harmed. Terminating an employee may be the exact wrong response because that could escalate the problem. A termination risk assessment and plan has to be formed with the employee's supervisor, HR, the legal team and others to ensure that potential harm is minimized.