Information Technology
Proofpoint ITM: Features, Pros, Cons & Alternatives

Proofpoint ITM: Features, Pros, Cons & Alternatives

Insider threats pose a significant security risk to organizations, as malicious or negligent insiders can cause data breaches, intellectual property theft, and financial losses. Proofpoint Insider Threat Management (ITM) offers a comprehensive solution to address this critical challenge by providing advanced monitoring, detection, and response capabilities.

In this article, we’ll explore Proofpoint ITM’s key features, assess its pros and cons, and compare it with alternative solutions to help organizations make informed decisions about mitigating insider threats.

What is Proofpoint ITM?

Proofpoint ITM is a SaaS solution in the Information Protection family of products within the Proofpoint portfolio. It focuses on detecting and preventing insider threats by monitoring user interactions with data and identifying risky user behavior. The solution utilizes a lightweight endpoint agent to collect information about user activity, allowing security teams to gain visibility into normal and high-risk users.

By correlating user activity with sensitive data movement, Proofpoint ITM enables security teams to identify user risk, detect insider-led data breaches, and accelerate investigations. The solution offers a range of features, including real-time detection and prevention of risky user behavior, content scanning and classification, and a centralized console for incident management and threat hunting.

Proofpoint, Inc. is a leading cybersecurity and compliance company that focuses on protecting organizations’ most valuable assets and mitigating their biggest risks—their people. Trusted by Fortune 100 companies, Proofpoint delivers people-centric security and compliance solutions that address critical risks across email, cloud, social media, and the web.

Features

Proofpoint ITM offers extensive features designed to help security teams effectively manage insider threat incidents and prevent data loss. Some of the key features include:

Activity Timeline

Proofpoint ITM provides an easy-to-understand timeline that displays user interactions with data and behavior on the endpoint. This feature allows security teams to view when users change file extensions, rename files containing sensitive data, upload to unauthorized websites, copy to cloud sync folders, install or run unauthorized software, conduct security admin activity, attempt to hide their tracks or browse to unapproved websites.

Out-of-the-Box Alert Libraries

The solution includes pre-built alert libraries that enable quick setup and immediate value. These libraries contain insider threat scenarios that can be adapted or used as-is, allowing security teams to start detecting suspicious behavior right away. Alternatively, custom rules can be built from scratch to suit specific organizational requirements.

Unified Console and Rapid Time to Value

Proofpoint ITM offers a centralized dashboard that gathers telemetry from endpoints, email, and the cloud, providing multi-channel visibility. The console’s intuitive visualizations help security teams monitor risky activity, correlate alerts from different channels, manage investigations, hunt for threats, and coordinate responses with stakeholders. Users can dive deep into alerts to view metadata and gain contextualized insights, quickly determining which events require further investigation.

Automated Content Scanning & Classification

The solution identifies sensitive data through data-in-motion content scanning, which reads data classification labels created with Microsoft Information Protection. Proofpoint ITM augments data classification efforts with best-in-class content detectors from Proofpoint Cloud DLP and Proofpoint Email DLP to safeguard intellectual property.

Flexible Data Controls

Proofpoint ITM offers data centers in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan to help organizations meet data residency and storage requirements. The solution allows for the separation of endpoint data by geography through easy grouping and limits analysts’ access to specific users’ data on a strict need-to-know basis within a defined time period.

Pros

Proofpoint Insider Threat Management offers several advantages that make it an attractive choice for organizations seeking to manage insider threats effectively:

Scalable Cloud-Native Platform

The API-driven modern architecture of Proofpoint ITM is built for scalability, security, privacy, and flexibility, allowing for deployment as either SaaS or on-premise. This scalability ensures that the solution can grow with the organization’s needs, accommodating increasing data volumes and user counts without compromising performance or security. The cloud-native design also simplifies maintenance and updates, reducing the burden on IT teams.

Advanced Threat Detection and Endpoint Data Loss Prevention  

Proofpoint ITM detects risky insider behavior across unauthorized activity and access, accidental actions that put data at risk, system misuse, and data movement that violates corporate policies. 

The solution leverages pre-configured and easily adaptable rules based on the expertise of over 1,000 customers and leading research organizations like CERT Insider Threat division, NIST, and NITTF. Additionally, ITM prevents the exfiltration of sensitive information through common endpoint channels, such as USB-connected devices, web uploads, printing, cloud sync folders, and more.

Easy To Use 

Proofpoint ITM features an intuitive visual case management system that presents a timeline view and aggregates evidence. This user-friendly interface is particularly tailored for user-driven events that require collaboration with teams outside IT and across the digital productivity stack. 

Device Support 

Proofpoint supports a wide range of devices and endpoints, including Windows, Windows on AWS/Azure, Mac, Linux/Unix, and VDI. This comprehensive device support ensures that organizations can monitor and protect critical endpoints across their diverse IT environments, providing a consistent level of security regardless of the operating system or deployment model.

Comprehensive Forensic Evidence Collection

Proofpoint ITM collects detailed forensic evidence, including data interactions, application usage, and screen captures of endpoint activity. This comprehensive evidence collection provides irrefutable proof for investigations, enabling security teams to accurately assess and respond to insider threats. 

Integrations 

Proofpoint ITM offers built-in integrations with SIEM solutions and Microsoft Information Protection (MIP), allowing for seamless integration with existing security infrastructure. The solution also boasts tight integrations with other Proofpoint products, enabling organizations to leverage a cohesive security ecosystem. A RESTful API is also available for custom integrations and automation, providing flexibility to adapt the solution to specific organizational requirements.

Cons

While Proofpoint ITM offers a range of features and benefits, there are some limitations and drawbacks to consider when evaluating the solution:

Limited Monitoring Capabilities

Proofpoint ITM focuses primarily on data protection and may not provide the same comprehensive user activity monitoring level as other insider threat management solutions. This limitation could result in potential blind spots, making detecting and responding to certain types of insider threats more challenging.

Product Disparity 

Proofpoint offers two insider risk management solutions, which can lead to confusion and inconsistency in key capabilities. The ObserveIT solution, while an older product, provides better monitoring and threat protection features, such as the Insider Threat Library (ITL). In contrast, Proofpoint ITM incorporates AI capabilities but may lack some of the advanced monitoring and data loss prevention (DLP) features found in ObserveIT.

No Remote Desktop Control

Proofpoint ITM does not offer remote desktop control functionality, which can be crucial for investigating and responding to insider threats in real-time. The absence of this capability may hinder security teams’ ability to intervene promptly and mitigate malicious or accidental risks.

No OCR

The solution does not include optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities, which can limit its ability to detect and classify sensitive data within images or scanned documents. This limitation may result in potential data leakage if insider threats leverage visual formats to exfiltrate information.

Lacks Partial Document Matching

Proofpoint ITM does not provide partial document-matching functionality, which can be essential for identifying sensitive data within fragments of documents or files. This limitation may allow insider threats to evade detection by modifying or obfuscating sensitive content.

Limited Reporting & Analytics

Proofpoint ITM’s reporting and analytics capabilities may not be as comprehensive or customizable as some organizations require. Limited reporting options can hinder the ability to gain deep insights into user behavior, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions for insider threat management.

Anomaly Detection 

Although Proofpoint ITM highlights insider threats, it primarily focuses on data loss prevention and may lack advanced anomaly detection capabilities, such as baseline analysis, which security tools like Teramind offer. As a result, Proofpoint may generate more false positives, requiring additional effort from security teams to investigate and validate alerts.

Product Licensing

Proofpoint’s product licensing model combines a fixed infrastructure fee with a set of endpoint licenses. This approach may present challenges when distributing licenses between virtual machines, potentially leading to inefficiencies or increased costs for organizations with dynamic or virtualized environments.

6 Alternatives to Proofpoint ITM

While Proofpoint ITM is a robust insider threat management solution, several alternatives in the market offer similar or even more advanced features. They include:

1. Teramind

Teramind is a comprehensive insider threat detection and employee monitoring software that combines user behavior analytics, data loss prevention, and productivity optimization. With its advanced features and user-friendly interface, Teramind empowers organizations to safeguard their sensitive information, maintain compliance, and boost workforce efficiency.

Teramind’s powerful monitoring capabilities cover a wide range of user activities, including application usage, web browsing, file transfers, email communications, and more. The platform’s real-time alerts and automated response actions enable security teams to swiftly identify and mitigate potential security risks, preventing data breaches and minimizing the impact of malicious activities.

Features

  • Behavioral Data Loss Prevention: Teramind offers robust data loss prevention features, including content-based rules, file transfer monitoring, and data exfiltration blocking, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure.
  • Employee Monitoring: With Teramind, organizations can monitor employee activities across various channels, such as keystrokes, clipboard actions, screen captures, and remote desktop sessions, providing real-time visibility into user behavior.
  • User & Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA): Teramind’s advanced UEBA capabilities leverage machine learning algorithms to detect anomalous user behavior, identify malicious insider threats, and generate risk scores for prioritized investigation.
  • Remote Desktop Control: The platform allows administrators to remotely access and control user desktops, facilitating real-time intervention, troubleshooting, and training.
  • Real-time Alerts & Prevention: Teramind enables the creation of custom rules and policies, triggering real-time alerts and automated responses when suspicious activities or policy violations occur.
  • Screen Recording & Playback: Teramind’s session recording and playback features provide a detailed audit trail of user activities, aiding in forensic investigations and compliance audits.
teramind free trial

2. DTEX inTERCEPT

DTEX inTERCEPT is an innovative insider risk management and behavioral data loss prevention solution that combines the essential elements of endpoint DLP, UEBA, UAM, and digital forensics into a single, lightweight platform. By leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, inTERCEPT proactively identifies and mitigates insider threats while maintaining employee privacy and minimizing the impact on network performance.

Features

  • Workforce Zero Trust Intelligence & Analytics: inTERCEPT demystifies the context and intent of human behaviors without violating employee trust and privacy, accurately detecting deviations that precede data loss events.
  • 360° Enterprise DMAP+ Visibility: inTERCEPT employs continuous, lightweight endpoint metadata capture and behavioral monitoring across every Windows, Mac, Linux, and Citrix endpoint and server, both on and off-network.
  • AI-Enabled Risk Assistant: The DTEX Ai3 Risk Assistant provides quick insight into indicators of intent, empowering security teams to fast-track investigation and response by understanding where sensitive data is going, who is accessing it, and why.

Read more: The 7 Best DTEX Alternatives.

3. Code42 Incydr

Code42 Incydr is a SaaS solution designed to detect and respond to sensitive data exfiltration threats. It provides visibility into file movements across endpoints, cloud services, and email, enabling security teams to identify and investigate suspicious activities quickly.

Incydr utilizes a lightweight endpoint agent for file activity monitoring across multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. The solution incorporates advanced features such as real-time alerting, risk prioritization, and automated response controls to streamline insider threat management and data loss prevention efforts.

Features

  • Risk Exposure Dashboard: Incydr’s Risk Exposure Dashboard offers a centralized view of file exposure events, top risky users, and data exfiltration trends, allowing security teams to identify potential threats and policy violations efficiently.
  • Forensic Search: The solution provides a comprehensive, cloud-based index of file activity metadata, enabling security analysts to investigate events and query data without impacting endpoint performance.
  • Automated Response Controls: Incydr includes automated response options, such as user education, file blocking, and access revocation, to address insider threats and data leaks effectively without overburdening security teams.

Read more: The 10 Best Code42 Incydr Alternatives.

4. Insightful

Insightful is an all-in-one employee monitoring solution that combines data protection, productivity optimization, and insider threat prevention. With its real-world insider threat detection capabilities, Insightful helps organizations identify and mitigate risks associated with malicious, negligent, or compromised users.

The software’s AI-powered analytics and customizable alerts enable managers to detect anomalous behavior, unauthorized access attempts, and data exfiltration in real-time, allowing for swift security incident response and minimizing the potential for data breaches.

Features

  • Insider Threat Detection: Insightful uses AI and ML to identify suspicious activities, enabling proactive risk mitigation.
  • Employee Monitoring: Insightful offers real-time activity tracking, screenshot capture, and productivity analysis for data-driven workflow optimization.
  • Compliance and Data Privacy: Customizable rules and granular access controls ensure regulatory compliance and data protection.

Read more: The 7 Best Insightful Alternatives.

5. Digital Guardian DLP

Digital Guardian is a powerful, cloud-delivered data loss prevention platform that enables organizations to protect their sensitive data and intellectual property across a wide range of environments. The solution offers a comprehensive set of data classification options, including fully automated content and context-based classification, as well as manual user classification. 

This flexibility allows businesses to tailor their data protection strategies to meet specific regulatory compliance requirements, safeguard intellectual property, and secure mixed environments.

Features

  • Data Classification: Digital Guardian offers automated content and context-based classification and manual user classification, enabling effective data protection across various environments.
  • Integration with DLP & Threat Detection: The platform integrates data classification with DLP and threat detection and response, enhancing security efforts by incorporating data sensitivity into alert prioritization.
  • Context-Based Classification for IP Protection: Digital Guardian’s context-based classification automatically identifies and tags sensitive data based on user, source, and application, even before formal policies are created.

6. Endpoint Protector

Endpoint Protector is a DLP solution designed to detect insider threats and safeguard sensitive data across macOS, Windows, and Linux platforms. The solution offers granular controls and a seamless employee experience, enabling organizations to create an effective insider threat program without impacting productivity. The solution’s persistent cybersecurity threats protection ensures that insider threat detection remains active even when employees work remotely or offline.

Features

  • Content-Aware Protection: Endpoint Protector monitors, controls, and blocks file transfers through content and context inspection.
  • Device Control: Endpoint Protector enables lockdown, monitoring, and management of devices with granular control based on vendor ID, product ID, serial number, and more.
  • eDiscovery: The solution allows you to discover, encrypt, and delete sensitive data at rest through manual or automatic scans.

FAQs

How does Proofpoint ITM work?

Proofpoint ITM works by monitoring user behavior and data movement to detect and mitigate insider threats. It uses advanced analytics and machine learning to identify risky activities and highlight potential security breaches, allowing organizations to take proactive measures to protect sensitive data.

What is the difference between Proofpoint DLP and ITM?

The main difference between Proofpoint DLP and ITM is that DLP focuses on preventing data leaks and ensuring compliance, while ITM specifically addresses insider threats by monitoring user behavior and identifying potential security risks within an organization.

What is ITM in security?

ITM stands for Insider Threat Management. It refers to the practice of monitoring and mitigating potential risks posed by insiders within an organization. This includes identifying suspicious user behavior, detecting data exfiltration attempts, and implementing measures to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Conclusion

While Proofpoint ITM is a capable solution, Teramind offers a more comprehensive insider threat management alternative. With advanced user behavior analytics, robust DLP, extensive employee monitoring, and a user-friendly interface, Teramind provides a powerful, all-in-one platform for safeguarding data and mitigating insider risks, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes.

teramind free trial