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October 26, 2023
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 min read

A Guide to Insider Threat Prevention Across Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS Environments

Learn how to prevent insider threats across Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS environments with our guide. Discover causes, risks, and tailored prevention strategies.

A Guide to Insider Threat Prevention Across Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS Environments
Calendar Icon White
October 26, 2023
Clock Icon
 min read

A Guide to Insider Threat Prevention Across Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS Environments

Learn how to prevent insider threats across Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS environments with our guide. Discover causes, risks, and tailored prevention strategies.


  • Insider threats are a growing concern in Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS workspaces that can jeopardize both data integrity and company reputation.
  • There are many types of insider threats, like malicious and negligent insiders, and there are specialized ways to detect and counter them.
  • Strac enhances your organization's insider threat mitigation by deploying advanced AI algorithms for real-time data redaction and offering seamless integration across multiple plaforms.

The security of an organization's data and systems is always paramount. While external threats often grab headlines, insider threats within the organization can be equally damaging and far more difficult to detect. In fact, every year, over 34% of businesses globally are impacted by such threats. 

Insider threats could be current employees, former employees, contractors, or even business partners who have authorized access to the organization's network and systems. Its complexity increases when considering different technological environments like Cloud, Gen AI, and SaaS. 

Each of these environments has its unique set of vulnerabilities and requires specialized strategies for insider threat prevention. This guide will explore insider threats across these different environments. We'll also look at the causes, risks, and, most importantly, the prevention strategies.

What are the Types of Insider Threats?

Understanding the different types of insider threats is the first step in creating an effective prevention strategy. Here are the main categories:

Types of Insider Threats
Types of Insider Threats

1. Malicious Insiders

These are individuals who intentionally harm the organization by stealing data, sabotaging systems, or conducting other harmful activities. Their motives can vary from financial gain to revenge or even ideological beliefs. Malicious insiders often deeply understand the organization's systems, making their activities particularly damaging.

Example: A disgruntled employee who intentionally leaks sensitive customer data to a competitor.

2. Negligent Insiders

Negligent insiders are not malicious in intent but cause harm through careless actions or ignorance. They might inadvertently send sensitive information to the wrong person, lose devices that contain confidential data, or fail to follow security protocols.

Example: An employee who accidentally emails a confidential document to a public mailing list.

3. Compromised Insiders

In this case, the insider threat comes from an external source that has compromised an internal account. The account owner may be entirely unaware that their credentials have been stolen and are being used to access sensitive information or disrupt systems.

Example: An employee's login credentials are phished, and the attacker uses the access to steal proprietary information.

4. Third-Party Insiders

These are individuals from partner organizations, vendors, or contractors who have been granted some level of access to the company's systems. While their access is usually limited compared to full-time employees, they still pose a risk if they misuse their privileges or if their own systems are compromised.

Example: A vendor who has access to your supply chain system and inadvertently introduces malware, affecting your operations.

5. Moles or Infiltrators

These are individuals who are planted within the organization specifically to conduct espionage or theft. Competitors, criminal organizations, or foreign entities may employ them. Moles are particularly dangerous as they enter the organization with the explicit intent of conducting malicious activities.

Example: A person hired by a competitor who gains employment in your organization to steal trade secrets.

Common Indicators of Insider Threat

Common Indicators of Insider Threat

Let's identify the common red flags that signal a potential insider threat.

  • Unauthorized Access: Employees attempting to access data or areas of the network that are not relevant to their jobs could be a sign.
  • Excessive Data Transfers/ Downloads: Substantial data transfers or downloads should be scrutinized, especially if they are to external destinations.
  • Unusual Logins or User Activity: Employees who show irregular patterns in their login times or overall user activity may pose a higher risk.
  • Suspicious Employee Behavior: Employees who exhibit suspicious actions or behavior may be more likely to engage in insider threats.
  • Unsanctioned Software Usage: The use of software applications that haven't been approved by the organization's IT department indicates a higher risk of insider threats.

How Can You Detect an Insider Threat?

Detecting an insider threat is challenging as the perpetrators are often individuals who have legitimate access to the organization's systems and data. According to a report, identifying and containing such a threat takes around 85 days. However, there are ways to prevent insider threats by identifying suspicious activities.

Behavioral Analytics

One of the most effective ways to detect insider threats is by monitoring user behavior. Behavioral analytics tools can track various activities, such as login times, data access patterns, and network usage, to establish a baseline of "normal" behavior for each user. Any deviations from this baseline can trigger alerts for further investigation.

User and Event Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

UEBA takes behavioral analytics a step further by incorporating machine learning algorithms. These algorithms can analyze a broader set of variables and detect more complex patterns of suspicious activity. UEBA is particularly useful for identifying compromised insiders, where an external attacker might use an employee's credentials.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Tools

DLP tools can monitor and control data transfers across the organization's network. They can be configured to flag or block the transfer of sensitive information outside the corporate network, thereby preventing insider threats.

Strac offers a robust DLP solution that goes beyond traditional monitoring and control. It employs proprietary AI-based algorithms to identify sensitive data and enforce security policies effectively. Strac's DLP solutions are particularly useful for organizations dealing with complex data environments, as they offer features like continuous DLP scanning, real-time redaction, delayed redaction, alerts, notifications, blocking of sensitive data. Strac DLP can also go back in time and scan for sensitive data. This prevents data leaks.

Access Control Monitoring

Regularly reviewing and auditing access controls can help organizations detect unauthorized or unnecessary access to sensitive information. This includes monitoring third-party insiders who might have been granted access to certain systems.

Endpoint Security Solutions

Endpoint security tools can monitor the activities on individual devices like computers, smartphones, and tablets. These tools can detect suspicious activities such as unauthorized software installations or unusual data transfers.

Regular Audits and Reviews

Conducting regular security audits can help organizations identify vulnerabilities and assess the effectiveness of their current security measures. Audits can also reveal insider threats by uncovering irregularities or discrepancies in data access and usage.

Employee Training and Awareness Programs

Training programs can equip employees with the knowledge to recognize and report potential insider threats, thereby serving as a first line of defense.

Insider Threats in Cloud Environments

Cloud computing has revolutionized how organizations store and manage data, offering scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. However, it presents unique challenges for insider threat mitigation. As per a report, 53% of organizations find it tougher to spot insider attacks in the cloud.


The very features that make the cloud advantageous, like accessibility and scalability, also create unique vulnerabilities. Let's explore these causes in detail.

  • Unauthorized Access to Sensitive Data: In a cloud environment, data is often stored in a centralized location that can be accessed from anywhere. This convenience also makes it easier for insiders to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • Misuse of Cloud Resources: Insiders may misuse cloud resources for unauthorized activities, such as running personal projects or mining cryptocurrencies. This incurs additional costs and puts the organization at risk of compliance violations.
  • Lack of Proper Access Controls: Inadequate access controls allow employees to access data and resources irrelevant to their job roles. This increases the risk of both intentional and unintentional insider threats.
  • Lack of Employee Training: Employees who are not adequately trained on cloud security protocols may inadvertently contribute to insider threats. For example, they might share login credentials or fail to secure data properly.


Proactive measures are essential for mitigating the risks associated with insider threats in cloud environments.

  • Implementing Strict Access Controls: Implementing access controls such as role-based access control (RBAC) can ensure that employees only have access to the data and resources necessary for their job functions.
  • Regular Audits and Monitoring: Monitoring data access and auditing cloud environments regularly can help organizations detect suspicious or unauthorized activities.
  • Strac cloud DLP Solution adds another layer of security to your cloud environment. It uses advanced AI algorithms to instantly detect and redact sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) across various cloud platforms. This ensures that even if an insider tries to leak or misuse data, the sensitive information is already redacted, rendering it useless for malicious purposes.

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) has opened up new technological frontiers, from natural language processing to image recognition. However, it also introduces more opportunities for insider threats.


The complexity of AI algorithms can sometimes make it difficult to detect when they have been tampered with. Let's delve into its specific causes:

  • Manipulation of AI Algorithms: Insiders with a deep understanding of AI can manipulate algorithms to produce skewed or false results. This can be particularly damaging in decision-making processes or automated systems.
  • Data Poisoning: Data is crucial to AI systems. Insiders can introduce "poisoned" data into the training sets, causing the AI model to make incorrect predictions or decisions.
  • Inadequate Security Measures for AI Models: Often, organizations do not implement sufficient security measures to protect their AI models, making it easier for insiders to tamper with them.
  • Lack of Monitoring of AI Systems: Without proper insider threat monitoring, detecting unusual activities in real-time is challenging, such as unauthorized changes to an AI model or its training data.


Safeguarding Gen AI environments requires specialized security measures. Let's explore them:

  • AI-Specific Security Protocols: Implementing security protocols tailored for AI can help protect against insider threats. This includes measures like encrypted data storage and secure coding practices for AI development.
  • Regular Updates and Patches: Keeping the AI software and systems up-to-date is crucial. Regular updates and patches can fix vulnerabilities that insiders might exploit.
  • Strac ChatGPT DLP Solution is specifically designed to address security concerns in Gen AI environments like ChatGPT. It ensures that interactions are secure and compliant by detecting and redacting sensitive information in real time. This not only protects your AI models from potential tampering but also safeguards your organization from potential non-compliance penalties.

Insider Threats in SaaS Environments

Software as a Service (SaaS) offers a range of applications from email and collaboration tools to customer relationship management. However, the convenience and accessibility of SaaS platforms also come with their own set of challenges concerning insider threats.


The ease of access and user-friendly interfaces that make SaaS platforms so popular can also cause security risks. Here are some possible causes.

  • Unauthorized Data Extraction: Insiders can easily extract data from SaaS applications and transfer it to unauthorized locations for personal gain or malicious intent.
  • Account Hijacking: Insiders may hijack accounts to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data or perform specific actions.
  • Weak Password Policies: Inadequate password policies can make it easier for insiders to crack passwords and gain unauthorized access to SaaS applications.
  • Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication: Insiders can more easily compromise accounts without multi-factor authentication, as they only need to obtain a single set of credentials.


SaaS environments require a blend of technological and policy-driven solutions to effectively counter insider threats. Let's explore these preventive strategies.

  • Strong Password Policies and Multi-Factor Authentication: Implementing strong password policies and requiring multi-factor authentication can significantly reduce the risk of account hijacking and unauthorized access.
  • Regular Software Updates: Keeping SaaS applications up-to-date protects you against known vulnerabilities, making it harder for insiders to exploit them.
  • Strac SaaS DLP solutions can be integrated into SaaS platforms to prevent unauthorized data extraction and account hijacking. The no-code integrations make it easy to secure your SaaS applications, thereby reducing the risk of insider threats.

How Does Strac Keep You Safe From Insider Threats?

As per the 2023 Insider Threat Report, nearly 74% of companies feel they are at some level of risk from insider threats, emphasizing the need for an insider threat prevention and detection program. Strac offers a comprehensive solution to mitigate these risks and keep your organization safe.

Detecting and Redacting Sensitive Data

Strac uses advanced AI algorithms to instantly detect and redact sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) across various platforms. This ensures that even if an insider tries to leak or misuse data, the sensitive data is already redacted, rendering it useless for malicious purposes.

Strac Platform Integration

Monitoring Data Usage and Controlling Access

Strac also monitors how this data is used across your organization's network. The platform can identify any unusual or unauthorized activities by monitoring data usage patterns, providing an extra layer of security against insider threats.

Audit Reports

Transparency is key when dealing with insider threats, and Strac provides detailed audit reports that track data access and usage. These reports can be invaluable during internal investigations and can also be used to demonstrate compliance during regulatory audits.

Integration with Various Platforms

Strac has the ability to integrate seamlessly with a wide range of SaaS applications like Zendesk, Slack, Gmail, and Office 365. This means you can have a centralized solution for data loss prevention across multiple platforms, making it easier to manage and mitigate insider threats.

Read more about Strac's integrations.

Strac Platform Integration

Compliance with Regulations

Strac helps organizations comply with various regulations like PCI, HIPAA, SOC 2, GDPR, and CCPA. This minimizes the risk of legal repercussions that can arise from insider threats.

Book a demo for Strac and secure your data from insider threats.

Founding Engineer. 9 years at Amazon and AWS.

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