How to Safeguard & Protect Your Most Important Asset: Data

In today’s digital and social age, protecting a company’s proprietary information has become increasingly complicated and highly dangerous if the rights steps aren’t followed. The information security team is one of the most important functions of the IT department. Yet, as companies spend more time and resources on information security, there is one area that has only recently being recognised as the most prominent Achilles’ heel: Insider Threats.

While companies face many external risks, those within an organisation’s perimeter— including the circle of trust who have privileged access to information that can be misused— can cause the most harm. Insider leaks of proprietary information can result in financial problems, client losses, bad press, litigation and a loss of trust or credibility throughout the entire organisation.

Exposing intellectual property and other crucial data is a serious concern. For the largest organizations, tens of thousands of hours have been put in to build your company so it will last and stand the test of time. Leaders have built rapport and relationships with clients and untold thousands of people. It’s easy to take for granted all the hard work that’s been performed to grow the business to what it is today. And that’s what’s at risk.

To protect data, how should companies mitigate the risks it can face from its own staff?

Prevention; Executives and managers should be diligent in making sure loss of data doesn’t occur. Companies need to put in place policies and protections for everyone’s mutual benefit. When a loss causes damage, it affects everyone throughout the organization: employees, senior staff, customers, vendors and partners.

Each company needs to define what’s acceptable. Each has to create policies that motivate and enforce best behavior. Each person has a standard that every employee needs to meet for the company’s mutual benefit.

Executives should work with all departments—not just IT and Security—to identify proper use of equipment, materials and access each employee has while on the clock. Productivity is also relevant to this conversation. It isn’t an extreme stance to require team members to avoid wasting time online, on news and social media channels or accessing inappropriate sites.

By keeping track of employee behavior, either manually or by using technologies such as employee monitoring and user behavior analytics software, managers can verify that employees are indeed following your company’s carefully crafted policies and ensure that everything is being done to keep vital information from being taken. Not preparing for insider activity sets a company up for problems, and erring on the side of caution when dealing with trusted staff is good policy. For more details on how to set up a user activity and behavior-monitoring program to protect your organization’s valuable data, check out this Whitepaper

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