Fear of insider threats hits home

iT security technology soaks up a lot of the security budget, but companies are starting to see that the insider threat posed by employees is just as important

"Because we were able to help them shed light on some valuable issues, the technology has really closed the loop in that sense," Machado said. "The relationship wasn't always very good, but now, they're willing to be more forthcoming with us, and we can rely on each other more to reach our common goals, which is a big advantage."

Some experts contend that companies will spend the next several years loading up on technologies that can help control insider threats now that they have invested so heavily in network defense protections.

Brian Contos, chief security officer at ArcSight, an IT security management specialist, said that businesses must consider the insider problem as a dynamic, ever-changing issue, much like protecting against malware, if they hope to stay ahead of major incidents.

"The network security side of things has increased at a much faster rate, but it's still the Wild West to a certain extent inside many large companies when it comes to protecting applications, databases, and other systems with a lot of rich data stored in them," said Contos, who previously authored the popular insider threat tome Enemy at the Watercooler.

"To be successful, you can't ever be more concerned with internal or external threats. In reality you have the very real chance for either type of attack on a daily basis," he said. "The vast majority of employees, almost all, are not malicious, but you have to constantly watch for that one person who obtains employment deliberately to cause harm or who becomes disgruntled and decides to use what they know against you."

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