September marks National Insider Threat Awareness Month (NITAM), a special month to consider the importance of addressing insider threats across the national security community. Since 2019, the government has used the month to emphasize the tools, resources and information available to address insider threats. Providing proper insider threat training is a policy requirement, and September marks a key date for security officers and security clearance holders to refresh their awareness and programs.

What Is an Insider Threat?

Insiders are those with privileged access, and include those who have access to classified information or work with sensitive government information. Anyone who is an insider can pose a risk to an organization. Informing and educating insiders about the important role they play in protecting national security is a key element of insider threat training programs. The focus of this year’s NITAM is bystander engagement. The role of bystanders is incredibly important. Security clearance reporting requirements have extended to include not just what an individual is required to report about themselves, but suspicious or concerning behaviors they may see in others.

Privilege comes with responsibility. And if you have access to classified information, you need to protect it. Insider threat awareness includes developing an understanding of the policies and best practices that help protect both classified and sensitive information.

Because insider threat training is a required annual training for security clearance holders, it can easy for it to become a check the box exercise. But as both history and present reality remind, insider threats are real and current and an ongoing challenge for the national security community. From Aaron Alexis to Jake Teixeira, there is no single profile to the type of individual who will violate their privileged access, or the path their destruction will take. In addition to better technology and processes, it also requires better involvement of the humans behind the process. This month marks another moment to remember, to reflect, and to learn stories worth sharing to improve the awareness and understanding of the workforce.

Related News

Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer