I just returned from San Francisco, where I was a keynote speaker at the RSA Conference 2017, one of the world’s largest cybersecurity conferences. I was selected to speak on the conference’s Human Element track, which focused on social networking, insider threats and user behavior analytics. As I’ve written many times, one of the biggest challenges for human resources and security leaders is radicalization.

Radicalization Is New, but Relevant

My colleagues presented on topics that covered policy, planning and emerging areas of enterprise security, along with social media monitoring tools, while my presentation focused on the behavioral inputs needed to successfully use these tools.

Security professionals around the world are trying to understand how to deal with the critically important issue of insider threat and radicalization in the workplace. Through our daily work with clients, we have observed that the majority of corporate security departments today are not sufficiently prepared, informed or knowledgeable about how to address radicalization in the workplace – including extremist behavior potentially leading up to, and including, acts of terror.

Identifying Radical Thinking at Work Requires Connecting the Dots

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, violent extremism is defined as “encouraging, condoning, justifying or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social or economic goals.” One of the key challenges that HR, security executives and corporate counsel will confront more frequently in 2017 is the risk of radicalization in the workplace and the vital need to discern between violent extremism and constitutionally protected free speech on issues ranging from religious beliefs, gun rights, racism, ultra-right or ultra-left activism, to name a few.

So how do you identify the radical thinking and what do you do when you see it? It’s a tough question and one that the Secret Service and the CERT Division have been trying to answer for years.

I encourage you to download my presentation to learn more about violent extremism, become aware of a portfolio of indicators and gain an understanding of how to help mitigate the risk of insider threat.


The risk of workplace violence is pervasive. It doesn't discriminate between C-suites or cubicles.