When a relationship with an employee turns sour, you should be on red alert when it comes to the security of your business data. It needn’t just be when you have to fire an employee, if you’ve had to reprimand anyone or give them a written warning for example, they may have their own ideas about taking revenge.
Whether your business is a start-up or well-established, the thought of having your hard-earned and sensitive data being passed onto someone else is always hard to stomach.
So, how do you go about stopping staff stealing your valuable data?
A common scenario where lots of companies fall short on data security is when an employee leaves one department and joins another. If your staff member has access to particular databases then moves to a role where they no longer need to use them, make sure their access is revoked immediately.
Regular data security reviews are a good idea in general. You never know who’s been sharing passwords internally or externally with people they shouldn’t be. If someone does steal sensitive customer data, it’s not a good enough defense to just say “I didn’t know what was going on”.
Other scenarios where you should think about employee access to company data are when people are off on extended leave or when they’ve just joined and are serving a probationary period.
Your employees may innocently do something that puts your data at risk. One way to be proactive about this is to make it clear in every employee’s contract what is expected of them when it comes to sharing company information and data security in general.
If you don’t make everyone who works for you aware of the issues and the potential consequences of data breaches, you will leave yourself open to all sorts of security problems and potential conflicts too.
Whether you’ve had to fire an employee or they leave on good terms, it’s common sense to revoke all their data access immediately. It doesn’t matter how much you trust the person who’s gone to work somewhere else, you shouldn’t leave your business open to potential data theft.
When employees are returning any equipment such as company laptops and memory sticks, you could get them to sign a document saying they have used it in line with the terms of their contract and have not removed any sensitive data.
This may sound obvious, but whenever someone leaves your employment, it’s wise to change logins and passwords for things they had access to, just in case they’re tempted to try and get their hands on some valuable information at some point in the future.
When an employee leaves your business, it’s fairly commonplace for them to join a rival company in the same sector. When you know this to be the case, you should keep an eye out for any signs that they may have taken some client data with them.
For example, if you start to lose business to a rival based on price, it may be that your pricing information has been stolen and used by your ex-employee in their new job.
It’s a very difficult task to completely negate the risk of employees stealing your data. However, if you take the four steps above, you can certainly reduce the likelihood of data theft taking place and help safeguard your sensitive information.
As with many IT related issues, prevention is certainly better than cure. If you invest in the advice in this article, it could save you a lot of time and money in the long term.