In an age where information can be easily and remotely accessed from the comfort of our own home, the topic of how this data and information should be handled can be quite tricky. This is especially more crucial now that companies and businesses are always looking for an edge over their competitors by knowing about their key strengths and weaknesses through sensitive information. In some cases, malicious entities are always looking for ways of acquiring confidential information through data breaches and leaks.
Confidential information for a lot of businesses can come in many forms and will vary in importance. Whether it’s sensitive payment information given by customers, passwords and usernames of employees, information from documents that are only privy to a few higher-ups, or simply something that could be a deciding factor in a company’s sales, confidential information are kept locked tight for a reason.
Since most of this information is quite sensitive and can easily cause problems if it’s leaked out to the public, businesses must ensure that much of this information is secure. However, this is easier said than done when most businesses won’t monitor employees and workers in place, especially if they are working remotely.
Still, the questions remain: what are some effective ways of protecting confidential information? In case of a leak or a security breach, what can be done to mitigate damage? Here’s what you’ll need to know.
Cultivating Information Security
An unaware employee with a big mouth can be a threat to the overall prospect of your business. Not only will this cause a variety of different speculations in the company, but it can increase the likelihood of leaks. Even unintentional errors that are caused by employees can cause issues in security.
Thus, it’s important to inform your employees and start cultivating a culture of information security to ensure that the workforce knows what should stay on company premises. You don’t have to be an authoritarian employer when you’re ensuring that information and data are in place by having it ingrained in the company’s working culture.
You can start doing the following business practices:
- Give a clear outline of what employees can and cannot do inside company premises.
- Incentivize employees for not breaching security protocols and cultivating a better working culture.
- Appoint a supervisor as an information security officer that can help manually check on the data and information.
- Have at least one representative for every department. This will give you much-needed information on how operations are doing for certain aspects of your business.
- If there are special events that are going on in the company, give a message or two about security protocols.
Although you might want to educate and keep your employees aware of why confidential information should stay within the four walls of the office, it’s still important that you have measures in place if there is a security breach or data leak within the premises. Fortunately, some companies offer security operations like ServiceNow that can ensure that confidential information does not leak. This also helps customize security incident response (SIR), which can adapt to the organization’s needs.
Establishing A Malicious Employee Security Program
While there will be well-meaning employees and just want to put food on the table, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all employees will have the same personal agenda. The best way to reduce the risk of data leaks and any malicious activity done by employees is by having a comprehensive business plan that’s heated towards eliminating such suspicious activities.
According to government security agencies like the US secrets services, 92% of infractions caused by “insiders” are normally caused by work-related infractions. Even if it was unintentional, this can still be considered a malicious employee activity and can negatively affect the company’s integrity.
You might want to consider the following strategies for your business:
- Training managers to help identify and eliminate risks of any “insider activity” from subordinates.
- If employees are working remotely, at least an application provides visual monitoring of what they are doing.
- Conducting background checks of hired employees while also providing reference checks while they are still in the process of being hired.
- Implementing a blacklist system of malicious co-workers.
- Deactivating and restricting access to employees that might seek to use company files and resources right before the process of termination.
There are different ways to keep information secure. Companies are always looking for new information and data that they can use against their competitors. It’s only appropriate to be vigilant and keep a watchful eye on how information is going in and out of your company premises.