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Why We Focus on Insider Threats

Both the Germanwings tragedy late last month and the recent arrest of a Kansas man charged with providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) highlight the growing risks that nations, companies and organizations face from insider threats.

In the case of the Germanwings disaster, the co-pilot alleged to have crashed the plane into the Alps was an insider – an airline employee – who was entrusted with the safety of passengers’ lives. While part of a much larger universe (the entire nation), the Kansas man charged with planning a suicide bomb attack at the Fort Riley military base is also an insider – one of a growing number of individuals inside our borders who intends to harm U.S. citizens. And in both cases, suicide was part of the insider attack plan.

This trend of insider threats is accelerating, with 58% of security incidents in the UK now being attributed to them, according to a report by Clearswift titled The Enemy Within. While it is not possible to completely prevent risks like these from occurring, it is our responsibility as leaders of companies and major organizations to do everything possible to protect our citizens, customers and employees from catastrophic events.

At Haystax Technology we’ve been addressing the risks associated with insider threats for over a decade, and our vantage point is quite different from that of most technology and cybersecurity companies. Most of those focus either on stopping information from leaving the insider network (through data loss prevention and related technologies) or on collecting and dissecting insider behaviors and signposts after the fact (e.g., the Germanwings co-pilot’s state of health and mind).

The purpose of Haystax’s technology, on the other hand, is to predict risks before they occur. Another big differentiator: our focus is on people. Our insider threat work began with a large charitable foundation to help it identify, triage, prioritize and adjudicate emerging security threats to its enterprise. Subsequently we worked with the US Army to identify and predict potential threats resulting from soldiers with severe post-traumatic stress disorder to prevent base shootings in the wake of the incidents at Fort Hood, Texas.

We’ve added other large organizations to our list of customers. For instance, our technology was used during last year’s Boston Marathon to prevent the type of attacks that occurred in 2013, and it will be hard at work during this year’s marathon as well.

It is situations like these that motivated our founding of Haystax Technology. We started with the premise that all people should be able to have safety and security – people in large cities such as New York and Los Angeles and those in smaller cities such as Granger, Iowa and Fort Hancock, Texas. The analytic solutions we design give people access to information about risk so they can take early, preemptive security measures. We are passionate about this mission, and our business exists to serve it.

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