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Insider threat investigations now cost orgs millions

Number of insider threats incidents up nearly 50% in two years, says latest ObserveIT/IBM/Ponemon Institute security resource report.

The number of insider threat incidents has increased by 47%, while¬†the overall cost of incidents has risen by 31% to ‚ā¨10.56m ($11.45m), a report has found.

Conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by ObserveIT and IBM, the Cost of Insider Threat Report 2020 surveyed hundreds of IT security practitioners to assess¬†insider threat¬†investigation costs and management. Investigation is defined as ‚Äėactivities necessary to thoroughly uncover the source, scope, and magnitude of one or more incidents‚Äô.

The study looked at three categories of insiders: employees or contractors; criminal or malicious insiders; and credential thieves. It found a clear link between increased insider threats levels and the cyber security resource cost required to investigate them.

Companies spent an average of ‚ā¨594,924 ($644,852) per incident¬†across seven cost centres and three categories of threats: employee or contractor negligence; criminal and¬†malicious insiders; and credential theft. Ponemon Institute measured this cost through seven components of a security program:

  • Monitoring and surveillance
  • Investigation
  • Escalation
  • Incident response
  • Containment
  • Ex-post analysis
  • Remediation

Among these many cost centres, Ponemon found that the cost of¬†investigation was growing the most rapidly, with an 86% increase in three years. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, the average investigation cost is¬†‚ā¨95,762 ($103,798)¬†per incident. In FY 2018, this number was just ‚ā¨67,715 ($73,398), and in FY 2016 it was as low as ‚ā¨38,251 ($41,461).

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