Taking Action to Nab Inside Traitors

John Krautzel
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In January 2015, representatives from Anthem discovered the company had been cyberattacked by hackers, exposing the personal information of up to 80 million Americans. The data breach quickly prompted other companies to tighten security and take steps to prevent data theft. Some companies are now using employee monitoring systems to determine if they are at risk for data theft perpetrated by insiders. Here is how employee monitoring can help your company identify potential threats.

Some companies are implementing data-access policies to prevent employees from viewing data they do not need to perform their jobs. If you decide to implement this type of policy, you also need to instruct employees not to share their passwords with each other. Sharing usernames and passwords makes it easier for disgruntled employees to access sensitive data.

One of the best ways to prevent data theft before it happens is to track user behavior. Robust software packages track the activity of every employee, making it easier to determine what is normal for a particular user. If an employee usually logs in at 8:30 in the morning and logs off around 5 p.m. each evening, you have a right to be concerned if you notice he logged into the system in the middle of the night. Employee monitoring also makes it easier to determine if employees are visiting questionable external websites or viewing sensitive data when they shouldn't be.

Another way to use employee monitoring effectively is to track email correspondence. If a disgruntled employee steals confidential information, there is a chance he may email it to his personal email address or send it to an associate outside the company. You don't necessarily need to read every email to catch an employee stealing confidential information. If a worker suddenly starts sending messages with dozens of attachments, the unusual behavior should trigger an in-depth review of his email activity.

Monitoring employee email accounts can also help you determine if an employee is likely to steal company data and sell it to the highest bidder. You can set a software program to search employee email messages for mentions of medical bills or late payments. Not every employee who is behind on bills steals sensitive information, but taking such precautions is a good way to identify potential threats inside your company.

If you decide to use employee monitoring to your advantage, don't forget to install the monitoring software on company-issued laptops. A disgruntled employee might not try to steal data in full view of his colleagues, but he might have an easier time rationalizing the theft if he is stealing information from the comfort of his own home.

A data breach can cost your company or organization millions of dollars and hurt its reputation in the marketplace. Employee monitoring reduces the risk of a breach, helping you protect sensitive information and maintain the trust of your clients and vendors.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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