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Insider Threat Detection: Top Techniques to Detect Insider Threats

Sarah Marshall | 7 min read| Updated On - December 8, 2023

Insider Threat Detection

In today’s digitally-driven landscape, organizations face a multitude of security challenges. While external threats like hackers and cybercriminals often take the spotlight, organizations must also remain vigilant against a growing concern within their ranks, and this is where insider threat detection techniques come in.

Insider threats occur when authorized individuals misuse privileges, posing risks to security. Detecting and mitigating these threats is crucial. This article explores insider threat detection, including program essentials, detection techniques, and the role of Lepide.

What is Insider Threat Detection?

Insider threat detection refers to identifying and mitigating threats posed by individuals within an organization who have authorized access to sensitive systems, data, or resources.

In simple terms, an insider threat is a person within an organization who poses a risk of being the primary cause or entry point for a data breach. Include, The Negligent Insider, The Compromised Insider, and The Malicious Insider.

Herein, Insider threat detection aims to protect organizations from potential harm, such as data breaches, intellectual property theft, financial fraud, sabotage, or unauthorized access. By promptly identifying and addressing insider threats, organizations can minimize the impact on their operations, reputation, and overall security posture.

Top Techniques to Detect Insider Threats

Consider applying the best practices listed below to detect insider threats

1. User Behaviour Analytics (UBA)

UBA leverages machine learning algorithms to establish baseline behavior patterns for individual users within an organization. It monitors user activities, such as data access, file transfers, and system usage, and identifies anomalies or deviations from normal behavior that may indicate insider threats.

2. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

DLP solutions help prevent unauthorized data exfiltration by monitoring and controlling data movements within the organization’s network and endpoints. They use content inspection, data classification, and predefined policies to detect and prevent the unauthorized transfer or leakage of sensitive data.

3. Privileged Access Monitoring

Monitoring and auditing the activities of privileged users, such as system administrators and high-level executives, is crucial for detecting potential insider threats. By monitoring privileged access, organizations can identify unauthorized actions, suspicious behavior, or misuse of privileges.

4. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM solutions collect, analyze, and correlate logs and events from various systems and applications to identify patterns or indicators of insider threats. SIEM tools can detect anomalous activities, unauthorized access attempts, and policy violations by aggregating data from different sources.

5. Insider Threat Programs (ITPs)

Implementing comprehensive insider threat programs involves developing strategies that combine technical controls, policies, procedures, employee training, and incident response plans. ITPs help establish a proactive and holistic approach to detecting and mitigating insider threats.

6. Continuous Monitoring

Implementing real-time monitoring of user activities and system logs enables organizations to identify suspicious behaviors or unusual patterns that may indicate insider threats. Continuous monitoring allows for immediate detection and response to potential incidents.

7. Anomaly Detection

Organizations can use anomaly detection techniques to identify deviations from normal behavior and flag activities outside the expected range. This approach helps identify potential insider threats that may go unnoticed through traditional rule-based systems.

8. Endpoint Security

Endpoint security solutions are crucial in detecting insider threats by monitoring and analyzing activities on individual devices, such as workstations or laptops. They can detect unauthorized file access, unusual network connections, or attempts to install unauthorized software.

9. Employee Reporting and Awareness

Encouraging employees to report suspicious activities or behaviors is crucial for detecting insider threats. Educating them about signs, emphasizing reporting, and providing clear channels improve detection efforts.

How to Create a Successful Insider Threat Detection Program

An insider threat program is essential for organizations handling sensitive data. It enables early detection, efficient response, and minimal damage. Required by regulations, it mitigates insider threats effectively.

  • Assess Risks and Define Objectives: Define objectives for your Insider Threat Detection Program, aligning them with your organization’s goals and security requirements.
  • Establish Policies and Procedures: Develop and communicate robust policies for system use, data handling, access controls, and incident response. Update them regularly to adapt to evolving threats and technologies.
  • Foster a Culture of Security Awareness: Provide regular training on insider threats, cybersecurity best practices, and reporting suspicions. Encourage a culture of vigilance and open communication.
  • Implement Technical Controls: Deploy a combination of technical solutions to monitor user activities, detect anomalies, and prevent data breaches.
  • Establish Monitoring and Incident Response Processes: Implement monitoring systems to analyze user activities, set up alerts for suspicious behaviors, and establish an effective incident response process.
  • Conduct Ongoing Audits and Assessments: Regularly audit and assess your Insider Threat Detection Program for effectiveness.
  • Collaborate and Share Information: Collaborate with others to share insights and intelligence on insider threats, enhancing program effectiveness and staying updated on emerging risks.
  • Continuously Educate and Train Employees: Provide ongoing training on evolving insider threats and security measures.
  • Promote Trust and Confidential Reporting: Promote a supportive environment for reporting suspicious activities by establishing anonymous channels and emphasizing the importance of reporting for organizational security.
  • Regularly Evaluate and Improve: Through metrics, feedback, and incident analysis. Continuously improve and adapt your program based on lessons learned, emerging threats, and technological advancements.

How Lepide Helps in Insider Threat Detection

The Lepide Data Security Platform helps organizations detect and mitigate insider threats. Lepide’s Insider Threat Detection solutions provide several key features and functionalities to enhance an organization’s ability to effectively identify and respond to insider threats. Here’s how Lepide helps in insider threat detection:

  • Lepide generates real-time alerts and notifications when suspicious activities are detected. This enables security teams to respond promptly to potential insider threats and investigate further to determine the nature and severity of the incident.
  • Lepide enables organizations to monitor the activities of privileged users, such as system administrators or executives with access to critical resources. It tracks their actions, ensuring they follow the appropriate protocols and avoid misusing their privileges.
  • Lepide helps identify sensitive data within an organization by scanning and classifying data repositories. It can locate and tag sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, or intellectual property. This assists in understanding which data assets are at higher risk and need additional protection.
  • Lepide utilizes advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to detect anomalies in user behavior. It compares current activities to historical data and predefined behavioral patterns to identify unusual or abnormal actions that may indicate insider threats. This could include unauthorized access attempts, excessive file downloads, or unusual data transfers.
  • Lepide monitors user activities across various systems, applications, and data repositories within an organization. It tracks and records user behavior, including file access, data modifications, application usage, and system logins. This helps establish baseline behavior patterns and identify deviations that may indicate suspicious or risky activities.


In conclusion, detecting insider threats requires a multi-layered approach combining technology, behavior analysis, and employee awareness. The Lepide Data Security Platform enhances insider threat detection with features such as user behavior analytics, real-time alerts, data loss prevention, and auditing capabilities. Implementing a successful program involves assessing risks, establishing policies, fostering awareness, and conducting regular audits. By leveraging these techniques and utilizing tools like Lepide, organizations can strengthen their defense against insider threats.

If you’d like to see how the Lepide Data Security Platform can help you with insider threat detection and prevention, schedule a demo with one of our engineers or start your free trial today.

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