Protecting company data from the hands of data snoopers out there on the internet is the agenda of all business owners. Most businesses, big or small, hold frequent meetings to address this issue, where employees of different levels are involved in a discussion about and review their data protection techniques and where they stand. A lot of focus has been put on this topic through news articles and blog posts on the internet due to many high profile data breaches taking place.
One does not have to look too far back for an instance of this happening, for the past year was full of them, with cases like the Ashley Madison and Walmart happening. Although the attention paid to and precautions taken for external security breaches are very much required, another different source of security breaches is not paid much heed to. This other source is internal security breaches by employees.
When high profile breaches happen, some employees get their hands on customer data as well. This breach does not get detected due to emphasis on the greater breach. Moreover, employee data breach is not always intentional. However, it is dangerous nevertheless, and should be prevented.
How to Prevent Security Breaches by Employees
- Have a strict policy of access
It is advised to have a clear cut access control regime in place for all employees of a company. All employees must not have access to all of the company data, for employees of different levels need access to different levels of company data. The lower level employees do not need access to sensitive data like company policies on certain matters or details of financial assets. Other cases may be hospitals, where not all employees should have access to the reports and records of patients.
- Monitor data usage
Having access control is always a good policy, but it should always be done together with monitoring the data access. Whatever be the level of the employee, security admins should know what data the employee has accessed recently. It not only helps them in improving their data access control but also helps them identify defaulters among employees.
- Be careful about Bring Your Own Device
BYOD is the practise of allowing employees to use their personal devices at the workplace. Employees are allowed to use their personal devices to access, share, and store company data on. This can be dangerous for many reasons. For one, the employee’s device might not be adequately secured and could be attacked by a hacker. If this happens, all company data on the device could be compromised. The device may also be stolen, which could again lead to data breach. Therefore, it is better to manage the devices of employees as well. A balance between managing their device and respecting their privacy has to be struck by the security admins, but employees need to be advised that they need to allow the security personnel handle their devices to an extent.
- Always ask leaving employees to surrender devices
It is often the case that an employee leaves a company but either he or the company forgets to get the device back at the company. This means that company data is available with a person who used to work there. He or she might sell the device to someone else without considering that the data could be compromised. There is also the off chance that the ex-employee themselves sell the company data on the device. So whenever an employee resigns or is asked to leave, the company devices issued to him or her should be taken back.
As mentioned earlier, employee security breaches are becoming far more common these days. They might not always be detected when they happen in the backdrop of a bigger security breach but they should be prevented against anyhow. We would urge business owners to learn more about this issue to protect their data.