Are ‘Insiders’ Threatening Your Business?

By Michael Klazema on 4/2/2019

When it comes to insider threats—threats posed to your business by people who are employees—many employers have a false sense of security because they run in-depth pre-employment background checks. While upfront screenings are a must for making educated hiring decisions, they aren’t enough to guarantee that your workforce is risk-free.

Criminal background checks are just a snapshot of a person’s criminal history at one moment in time. Without ongoing criminal monitoring program in place, you can’t know for sure that employees who come in with clean records maintain them.

This subject came to the forefront recently thanks to an article published on the cybersecurity website Dark Reading: “The Insider Threat: It’s More Common Than You Think.” Penned by Raj Ananthanpillai, CEO of the IT company InfoZen, the article looks at the threat of the “insider”— the long-term employee who might turn into a threat to your business.

In the article, Ananthanpillai posits that certain “stress factors” can “intrude on an individual’s life” over time, fundamentally altering his or her behavior as an employee. Such stress factors might include a divorce, a DUI, a bankruptcy, or something similar. These factors, Ananthanpillai writes, can affect an employee to the point where they become a risk to the business.

When these risks turn into on-the-job incidents, businesses get hurt. The examples Ananthanpillai gives run the gamut: a Tesla employee who leaked sensitive company data; a Goodwill employee who fabricated payroll records to embezzle $93,000; and Uber’s long list of problems with drivers accused of physical assault, sexual assault, rape, theft, and other offenses.

How many of these incidents may have been predicted by more habitual background screening policies is impossible to say. (As of last year, Uber actually does have an ongoing criminal monitoring policy.) However, Ananthanpillai also presents proof that many businesses are not utilizing any background check strategy after the initial pre-employment screening.

In the article, he cites an Endera survey of executives from large companies in the security industry. The majority of respondents to the survey said their companies do run pre-employment background checks. However, only 48 percent said they continue their background checks on an ongoing basis. Only 11 percent of respondents update their employee background checks monthly, and only 2 percent have a system that updates daily.

Respondents to the Endera survey also admitted that their businesses have an average of three “workforce-related incidents” every week. In this context, an “incident” could be anything from device theft to workplace violence to fraud. These executives might achieve a lower incident rate if they adopt more robust repeat background check policies for their companies.

At, we make it easy to join the minority of businesses that re-screen their employees every month. We offer an affordable ongoing criminal monitoring service that you can use to keep an eye out for potential insider threats. Once you sign up for the service, we will screen your existing employees using our US OneSEARCH database every month. If we find a new “hit” on an employee, we will notify you immediately. Learn more about the service here.



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