The Insider Threat: What You Should Know

By Michael Klazema on 10/24/2019

Protecting your business and creating a reliable workforce are priorities. While many companies use pre-employment background checks, the threat does not end at the office threshold. Self-Inflicted damage is one of the greatest threats that businesses face today. From breaching data in sensitive systems for profit or payback to traditional white-collar crimes such as embezzlement, rogue employees can cause substantial damage to a business.  

The threat is growing. In one study of healthcare data breaches from 2018, almost 58% of the incidents involved insider action. Many of these incidents include the theft, sale, or leak of sensitive data from internal systems. According to a study of 2018 threats by Verizon, the typical business requires almost six and a half months to identify the occurrence of a potentially costly data breach. Being unaware of danger for such a long period can lead to expensive damages for a company. 

Insider threats come in many forms. How can a business reduce the risk that it faces from these concerns? Pre-employment background checks, such as those offered by, cannot predict future behavior. Someone whose initial report is clean may experience a change in their circumstances, such as severe financial hardship or a traumatic event, that may make malicious actions seem more appealing. This factor is especially significant when there is a substantial financial incentive in play. 

One way to monitor a firm's level of risk is to keep an eye on employee criminal records long after the hiring process concludes. An employee who seems to fit the mold during an interview, for example, may later face arrest or prosecution for drug possession or DUI. Employers should have access to this information in case it necessitates a re-evaluation of an employee's suitability and the level of risk that they represent. Outside pressures such as criminal charges can drive individuals to do desperate things or lash out to harm a company's reputation and bottom line.  

Ongoing background checks are not a solution to the insider threat. Instead, they are an essential source of information for human resource departments to use in their efforts to conduct more thorough threat assessments. Not every employee that harms a company does so following a prior criminal act. It is crucial for ongoing assessments to include observations of unusual behavior, fluctuations in performance, and other risk factors. 

Criminal charges represent one of those risk factors. Without the right tools, discovering changes in an employee's record after hiring is cumbersome and time-consuming. simplifies this process with robust ongoing criminal monitoring based on our multi-jurisdictional US OneSEARCH. With monthly notifications of status changes for employees who are under review, businesses can implement a framework for identifying internal threats.  

Insider threats can be a significant source of harm to any business. Don't overlook the potential risks in your own backyard.

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