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National Insider Threat Awareness Month: The Importance of Increased Cultural Intelligence

The C-InT SBS Summit 2021 features live keynote events, prerecorded webcasts, articles, books, training aids, and other open-source resources.

Every September, federal agencies observe National Insider Threat Awareness Month (NITAM) to emphasize the importance of safeguarding our nation from insider threats.

All organizations are vulnerable to insider threat incidents, or those events in which a trusted insider misuses their official access to intentionally or unintentionally harm an organization. Most insider threat incidents are preceded by concerning behavior, and organizations have the opportunity to intervene and mitigate threats as people move along the pathway from idea to action.

The theme of NITAM 2021 is “Insider Threat and Workplace Culture.” Organizations with positive and inclusive work cultures that foster trust between employees and leadership have more engaged and loyal employees and are better positioned to mitigate or even prevent counterproductive work behavior, including insider threat incidents. Studies have demonstrated that disengaged workers have higher absenteeism, more accidents, and more errors, and that organizations with low employee engagement suffer from lower productivity, lower profitability, and lower job growth – all conditions that can contribute to insider threat incidents.

To promote healthy organizational cultures, the National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF) provided The Threat Lab, a program within the Defense Personnel and Security Research Center, with the resources to host its second annual Counter-Insider Threat (C-InT) Social & Behavioral Science (SBS) Summit at https://sbssummit.com/. Counter-Insider Threat professionals (analysts, program managers, operational psychologists, etc.), organizational leaders, human resources professionals, lawyers, ethics and privacy officials, policy writers, and media are encouraged to register. NITTF Deputy Director Rebecca Morgan stated that sound, data-driven science plays a critical role in risk mitigation. The NITTF has partnered with the Threat Lab to support social and behavioral science research to develop and apply best practices to counter insider threats to public health and safety, economic security, and national security.

This free, 30-day virtual event focuses on cultural intelligence, which is one part of a healthy workplace culture. Cultural intelligence refers to a collection of skills related to a person’s ability to work effectively and thoughtfully across culturally diverse situations. It goes beyond awareness and focuses instruction on developing and sustaining skill sets and capabilities.

According to Stephanie L. Jaros, Director of Research for the Department of Defense Counter-Insider Threat Program and founder of The Threat Lab, the relevance of cultural intelligence to security may not be readily apparent. But “behavior happens in context, and it results from a number of factors including our current environment and personal histories.”

“We must recognize this complicated interplay if we are to successfully protect our people,” she said. “The C-InT SBS Summit 2021 is designed to help our stakeholders create ethical, fair, and empirically-informed Counter-Insider Threat Programs.”

The C-InT SBS Summit 2021 features live keynote events, prerecorded webcasts, articles, books, training aids, and other open-source resources created and curated by leading subject matter experts in counter-insider threat research and practice.

About The Threat Lab

The Defense Personnel and Security Research Center (PERSEREC) founded The Threat Lab in 2018 to realize the Department of Defense (DoD) Counter-Insider Threat Program Director’s vision to incorporate the social and behavioral sciences into the mission space. The Threat Lab exists to share knowledge, strengthen relationships across the global C-InT Community of Practice, and integrate research into operations through delivery of relevant artifacts. Learn more at https://sbssummit.com/

About NITAM

NITAM is organized by The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), the National Insider Threat Task Force (NITTF), the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence and Security, the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security. The NITAM campaign seeks to encourage employees in government and the private sector to recognize behaviors of concern and report them so early intervention can occur, leading to positive outcomes for at-risk individuals and reduced risks to organizations. To learn more about the campaign and resources available to organizations, visit the NITAM 2021 website.

About NITTF

NITTF is currently housed at NCSC. Since its inception, the NITTF has worked with federal agencies to build programs that deter, detect, and mitigate insider threats. NITTF and NCSC coordinate insider threat training and awareness, liaison and assistance, governance and advocacy, and research and analysis for stakeholders in the public and private sectors to reduce the risk of insider threats to public health and safety, economic security, and national security. Learn more at https://www.dni.gov/index.php/ncsc-how-we-work/ncsc-nittf.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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