Insider Data Theft

What is it?

Data theft is the act of stealing information stored on computers, servers, or other devices from an unknowing victim with the intent to compromise privacy or obtain confidential information. Data theft is a growing problem for individual computer users as well as large corporations and organizations. Data theft occurs both outside and inside companies, and reducing the risk of insider data theft at the corporate level is anything but easy. This is especially true because system administrators and employees have access to technology such as database servers, desktop computers, and external devices including USBs, smartphones, and other removable and mobile devices.

Whether you are a large, medium or small sized organisation, data theft is a huge problem that needs to be identified as early as possible. Not so long ago an insider data theft breach could be wrapped up and escape news headlines, however with the introduction of GDPR and strict guidelines on reporting such breaches, this is no longer the case.

What motivates employees?

Motives for insider data theft can range from career development to deliberate theft to cause damage. Intellectual property (trade secrets and financial forecasts) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can be extremely valuable to the right buyer. Citing the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Report, 76% of data breaches in 2017 were linked to an individual stealing data for financial gain.

Those who steal data on purpose, on the other hand, can have different motives, from taking vengeance on their employers to simply gaining financial profit. The individuals most likely to steal data are:

  • Departing employees. When someone retires or gets fired, they may take the company’s valuable data with them despite all the NDAs they’ve signed.
  • Disgruntled employees. If a team member is mad at their employer for some reason, they may try to harm the company to get revenge.
  • Employees conducting industrial espionage. Whether it’s to make money selling your secrets or to get a better job at a competing company, these quiet spies will do their best to take what they want.

How to Protect an Organization’s from Insider Threats

The threat of insiders is real and what can happen is you have amazing defenses to protect your intellectual property and other secrets from those who are trying to obtain them from outside your company’s walls, but you forget sometimes to have a program where you are watching those who you trust,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin after the FBI arrested and charged an individual with theft of government secrets.

While well trained users can be your security front line, you still need technology as your last line of defense. User Activity Monitoring allows you to monitor users to verify that their actions meet good security practices. If a malicious outsider gains access to their log-in information, or if an insider chooses to take advantage of their system access, you will have a record of the suspicious activity.

If your business is like most others, you don’t have the budget to stand up your own security operations center. But that doesn’t remove the need for around-the-clock monitoring and intelligence that will help you investigate incidents and minimize attacks.

In the spirit of preserving your data, session recording software offers a way to protect your organization. Visit to learn more about how we can help you prevent data insider threats and theft.