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Insider Threat Security Reference Architecture

April 2012 Technical Report
Joji Montelibano, Andrew P. Moore

In this report, the authors describe the Insider Threat Security Reference Architecture (ITSRA), an enterprise-wide solution to the insider threat.


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number


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The Insider Threat Security Reference Architecture (ITSRA) provides an enterprise-wide solution to insider threat. The architecture consists of four security layers: Business, Information, Data, and Application. Organizations should deploy and enforce controls at each layer to address insider attacks. None of the layers function in isolation or independently of other layers. Rather, the correlation of indicators and application of controls across all four layers form the crux of this approach. Empirical data consisting of more than 700 cases of insider crimes show that insider attacks proved successful in inflicting damage when an organization failed to implement adequate controls in any of three security principles: authorized access, acceptable use, and continuous monitoring. The ITSRA draws from existing best practices and standards as well as from analysis of these cases to provide actionable guidance for organizations to improve their posture against the insider threat.