Information privacy is very vital these days. As more and more technologies are coming these days, the concerns are also on the up about their security as well. Concerns about privacy do exist whenever you collect personal or any other sensitive information. This information can be stored in various forms and means. Improper usage and storage of the data are the root causes of privacy issues.
There are ways to manage these risks against any breach. A company can hire experts to safeguard their data but the most effective way is to take workers on board.
What sort of data is at risk?
Computers are everywhere these days, so do the electronic documents. The days are gone for manual work and filing the documents. Electronic documents are easy to carry and copy but also are at risk of being copied by someone without your knowledge. This stolen information then can be saved at various locations which are beyond your control. This sort of theft is usually falls under technical side, which can be prevented by implementing effective policies.
Most of the employees usually take company’s data with them when they resign, like sales-persons. There are few companies who performed any sort of review or digital forensic investigation on their departing employees.
Most of the employee steals trade secrets of the company or their valuable sales data. They steal the data so that it can help them in their new job because the data is already available with them.
Stealing Data through Smart Ways
Technology has made it very easy for anyone to take data with him. Before the introduction of smart devices mostly people used to burn the CDs with sensitive data. Then there are USBs which are portable and small in size and also easy to conceal. These USBs can hold huge amount of data.
Smart phones have become the integral part of every human. They carry them everywhere they go. Many companies don’t see the risk in stealing information with smart phones. Today smartphones have tremendous storage capacities with emailing facility too. These smart devices can be connected via company’s WiFi and then data can be transmitted at a very high speed to anywhere in the world. These functions have made smart phone an ideal device for stealing data.
Email is another swift and easy to way to transmit data without permission. Many email providers offer generous storage space with the advent of cloud computing. Companies with limited budget usually don’t prohibit the personal emails. Employees can easily email large chunks of data to personal account and then can access it from anywhere. By using the personal emailing system an employee is putting the sensitive information of the company at risk.
The real-world example is the issue of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was accused of using personal email server while discharging her duties as Secretary of State. This has initiated an inquiry by FBI and a lot of protests have been registered by the opposition parties. This shows the perils of using personal emailing system while performing official duties.
Social Media Has Its Role
A company’s data and sensitive information can be revealed through social media networking websites. The information can be disclosed in the form of ‘status update’, and it is a common practice. Both current and leaving workers can unintentionally reveal company’s information on the social media. These employees can post about the upcoming product or new development by the company through their status.
Safe Data through Risk Management
The foremost step to try to safe your data is to get to know more about your employees. Through background screening you may have their criminal background checks verified but you can’t be sure about their behavior to certain situations. It is always better to know and determine which employees pose risk to your companies. Always be skeptical about those employees who offer to give you the customer’s list of their previous employees. You could be their next victim when they leave your company. So always beware of such employees.
Trust Your Employees
Establish a worker-friendly environment in your company because a happy employee tends to be more faithful. It is said that only those employees steal data from the company who are not satisfied with it or have negative impressions.
Always chalk out a policy or acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the company. When charting the policies always put this question in front of you: “What is the valuable to your company?”
For example a jewelry company may prohibit its employees to use cellular phones with camera. Because the company is concerned about its design might get copied by its competitor. Convey your worries and policies to the workers to gain their trust and ward off any distrust.
Limiting the Accessibility of Data
Protect your sensitive data by limiting its accessibility through the proper usage of technology. Sales people should have access the financial portal and vice versa. However sales and marketing departments need close coordination, so they can have access to the shared data. Using remote monitoring tools, a company can wipe out the sensitive data on any PC or laptop whenever it sees it necessary.
If somebody has already resigned or you come to know through a reliable source that one of your sales-person is in talks with your competitors to switch job. Now is the time to keep a close watch on him by keeping tab on his digital activities. Also limit his access level to the company’s data. The workers who are sacked must be escorted out to ensure he is taking any data with him.
Spelling out Policies to Secure Data
A company could protect the sensitive information of its employees and its valuable data through a well-communicated and well-define set of policies. These policies are essential to the protection of company’s confidential data. Make sure the acceptable use of policies including the data classification and retention policies and also have new and departing employee procedure is clearly defined.
Though a set of policies can help mitigating the risks but it doesn’t guarantee that data is safe. So the next step should be to have a technical policy in place as well. A few and prominent changes at IT system can give significant results. Never put employees in the Administrative Group when they log-on to their computers – unless it is necessary. This will prevent them from installing any new software or even hardware as well. You can also disable the port of the PCs so no one can use the USBs without prior permission.
Now almost 100% of the documents are created electronically so it has become very easy to steal data. With most of the employees tend to take company’s data with them, so companies should adopt risk management strategies to minimize the theft. Litigation process is high-priced and often does not yield the desired results you want, so the best strategy is to stop the possibility of data theft.
Chalk-out a comprehensive set of policies, deployment and verification of IT security controls and proactively control the network.