How Microsoft Insider Risk Management Solution Is Stopping Leaks And Insider Attacks?

If an employee on a week's notice starts downloading a large number of files from the company network, there is a possibility that he or she has malicious intent. The employee may be trying to take confidential product designs, trade secrets with a rival organisation, take sensitive legal information, or access private employee data. In most cases, organisations fail to “insider risks” and this is exactly why Microsoft offers a new Insider Risk Management solution within Microsoft 365.

The Insider Risk Management solution leverages machine learning to intelligently detect potentially risky behavior within an organisation. The solution promptly identifies which activities and events are more likely to pose possible security threats. The Insider Risk Management solution is designed to assist employees to make the right choices and mitigating common security lapses.


“Fundamentally, a company’s employees are usually trying to do the right thing,” said Bret Arsenault, Microsoft’s chief information security officer and corporate vice president. “But sometimes the intention is different than the outcome.”


According to an insider threat report from Crowd Research Partners, more than half of organisations reported that an insider attack occurred in the past year. In a recent survey of cybersecurity professionals, a staggering 90 percent of organisations indicated that they felt vulnerable to insider risks and two-thirds believe accidental breaches or malicious insider attacks are more likely than external attacks.


“In the security industry there has been a disproportionate amount of focus on external adversaries,” Arsenault said. “But with thousands of employees logging into a company’s systems every day, the threat of users — whether with inadvertent or malicious intent — may be a higher risk scenario. And that’s when we realized we needed to expand our focus.”


One of the best things about the Insider Risk Management solution is that it combines a significant array of signals from Microsoft 365 productivity tools, Azure cloud services, and Windows operating systems with machine learning algorithms so it becomes easy to identify anomalous and potentially risky behavior from people using those products.


“We knew that insider risk was becoming a more pervasive and expensive challenge, but also that we had to have an entirely different lens for addressing it,” said Erin Miyake, Microsoft’s senior program manager for insider threats, who worked with human resources, compliance and product experts to develop the new solution.


“Employees absolutely should have access to the things they need for their jobs and shouldn’t feel unnecessary friction,” Talhah Mir, principal program manager in the Microsoft 365 security and compliance team, said. “This is really about taking all these signals that already exist in the background and reasoning over it at scale with machine learning to find that thread in that sea of information that identifies possibly suspicious activities.”


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