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Updated: Oct 6, 2023   |   Lauren Koppelman

Insider threat awareness: 5 training resources

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Companies need to protect themselves against the threats posed by insiders, as both employees and contractors necessarily have authorized access to sensitive data resources that can be abused in a variety of ways. Insider threat awareness training can help reduce the occurrence of accidental threats while providing insight into the methods used by malicious individuals.

Below, we’ll review a few insider threat awareness training resources that can strengthen a company’s cybersecurity posture and lead to a more security-conscious workforce.

In this article: 

Th‎e problem of insider threats

All organizations have valuable data assets and systems that must be protected from misuse. While the focus of many cybersecurity initiatives is keeping threat actors out of the environment, businesses can be adversely affected by activities performed by employees and contractors inside the organization. 

Insiders represent a unique problem due to the level of access to enterprise resources they need to do their jobs.

Insider threats come in two general varieties. Though the impetus for the threats is very different, the resulting damage to an organization can be significant, no matter who is responsible.

Malicious insider threats

This is the type of insider threat most people think of when they hear the term used. A malicious insider may be motivated by financial pressure or anger against the organization. This motivation can result in the insider attempting to steal valuable information to sell on the black market or to competitors. 

It may also lead to efforts to damage the infrastructure or sabotage business-critical systems.

Accidental insider threats

This type of insider threat comes from employees or contractors who may misuse enterprise assets either by accident, carelessness, or lack of knowledge of the correct way to handle sensitive data. A simple mistake such as transmitting unencrypted data over a public network can result in a disastrous data breach that forces a company to go out of business. 

The key to minimizing accidental insider threats is through training and software tools that alert users when they are misusing enterprise data.

Wh‎at is insider threat awareness?

Insider threat awareness training provides members of an organization with the knowledge they need to detect and protect against the risk of a security breach due to accidental or malicious insiders. It’s a crucial component of an effective insider risk management program

The increase in insider incidents raises the importance of this type of training. Companies should not ignore the risk of insider threats.

Ho‎w often is insider threat training required?

Insider threat training is a crucial component of a comprehensive security program, but there are several factors that impact how frequently insider threat training is required. 

For instance, in some industries, mandatory training may be necessary annually or more frequently to meet regulatory requirements. Organizational policies may also stipulate how often insider threat awareness training must be completed. 

The evolving threat landscape is another factor; as new threats emerge, ensuring that your team understands how to avoid the latest threats is key.

However, it is generally recommended to conduct insider threat awareness training at least annually. This ensures that employees are regularly reminded of the risks associated with insider threats and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to reduce risk.

Regular training also ensures that employees understand the common indicators of insider threats are informed of policies for identifying and reporting of suspicious activities.

Additionally, organizations may consider providing targeted training sessions for employees in high-risk roles or departments and for contractors with a security clearance to access sensitive data. Regular training helps to reinforce security protocols and maintain a vigilant workforce, reducing the likelihood of successful insider attacks.

Re‎sources for insider threat awareness training

The following resources provide insider threat awareness and cyber security awareness training that can be instrumental in helping an organization reduce the risks of malicious or accidental misuse of enterprise IT assets.

Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute

Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute

The University offers a one-hour course that provides a basic understanding of insider threats and how employees can guard against them. The training is based on the work of the CERT Insider Threat Center, which has been involved in researching this problem since 2001.

The Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE)

The Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE)

The CDSE provides a short course designed to teach students how to recognize suspicious activity and behavior that often indicate an insider threat. The course also focuses on reporting requirements to alert management of potential threats.

Insider threat flashcards

Insider threat flashcards

The flashcards provided in this course provide a basic overview of insider threats. While not as extensive as some of the other training resources available, it may be a good place for a small business to begin introducing the topic to its employees.

The Insider Threat Defense Group

The Insider Threat Defense Group

This organization offers a variety of training resources that address multiple aspects of mitigating insider threats. Classes include information on how to develop an insider threat program and how management can detect insider threats before they impact the environment.



This education company provides an insider threat awareness course that talks about the various issues surrounding these threats. Areas of focus include actions and behaviors that may indicate insider threats, reporting potential insider threats, and protecting sensitive information.

A ‎DLP solution that provides training while protecting your IT environment

The Reveal platform by Next offers customers a data loss prevention solution that provides user training at the point of risk. At the same time, it protects the environment by enforcing an organization’s data handling policy. 

The solution is built using cutting-edge machine learning technology capable of identifying and categorizing sensitive data as it is ingested into the environment. The tool creates baselines of acceptable behavior which are then used to identify anomalous activities that may signify an insider threat. 

When a potential threat is identified, security teams can conduct scoped investigations that limit the information an investigator has access to while also employing data minimization techniques such as pseudonymization to protect users’ data privacy. 

Reveal enforces a company’s data handling policy to ensure that information is handled correctly throughout the organization. The tool automatically restricts the unauthorized use of enterprise data while generating user training that informs an individual of the mistake they made so it can be avoided in the future. 

It’s a valuable tool to protect an organization from insider threats while raising the security IQ of everyone in the organization, enabling companies to take a proactive approach to insider threat protection.

Talk to the data loss prevention experts at Next and schedule a demo to see this powerful solution in action.

Fr‎equently asked questions

Who in an organization should receive insider threat awareness training?

Everyone in an organization should receive insider threat awareness training. All employees can potentially present an insider threat by not understanding the risks associated with certain actions related to enterprise data resources. Additionally, everyone should understand the indicators of malicious insider threats so they can be addressed proactively to protect the organization.

How does Reveal address the issue of insider threats?

The Reveal Platform by Next addresses insider threats in two ways. The platform enforces an organization’s data handling policy to ensure that enterprise resources are not missed either deliberately or accidentally. It also provides user training at the point of risk to minimize accidental insider threats and strengthen an organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.

Can insider threat awareness training protect against malicious insiders?

Insider threat awareness training can protect an organization from malicious insiders to a degree by enabling everyone to understand the indicators of an insider threat. The lessons learned in the training may well be ignored by a true malicious insider intent on damaging an IT environment. However, the training can be enough to alert other employees of the threat before it can be carried out.


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