The study found that the cost of insider-related breaches has escalated to over $8.7 million. The costs associated with an insider attack vary based on the attack type; the most expensive type of insider incident costs an average of $648,846, followed by malicious insider incidents ($607,745) and contractor negligence ($283,281).

Unsurprisingly, Ponemon found that insider activity of all kinds has been on the rise. Since 2016, the average number of security incidents involving a malicious insider rose by 53%, followed by employee/contractor negligence which has increased by 26%. The average number of credential theft incidents has also seen a huge increase, spiking by over 170%.

The level of risk associated with insider threats differs based on organizations size and industry. Larger enterprises with over 75,000 employees spent an average of $20 million over the past year to mitigate insider-related incidents. Smaller organizations with less than 500 employees spent an average of $1.8 million. Companies within the financial services, energy and utilities and retail industry incurred average costs of $12.05 million, $10.23 million and $8.86 million, respectively.

The 2018 Cost of Insider Threats study also found that the average insider threat takes more than two months to contain, with negligent employees making up the majority of incidents (64%), followed by malicious insiders (23%).

“This research reveals that ignoring the growing threat posed by insiders can be costly for businesses of all sizes and in all industries,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of Ponemon Institute. “The increasing cost of insider threats – whether caused by negligent or malicious actors – is extremely detrimental for organizations, potentially costing them millions of dollars annually.”

Verizon’s recent 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report found that insiders were to blame for 28% of all breaches analyzed, however, errors were at the heart of one in five of these breaches. This includes things like misconfiguring web servers and sending sensitive emails to the wrong person.

In order to avoid any damage to your organization, it’s important your organization is able to detect and respond to insider threats quickly and effectively. To do this, NNT recommends utilizing change management systems to provide early detection of any security incident within your IT environment.

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