The following article touches on one of the most overlooked types of crimes committed in the 21st century, data that is stolen from employees. These employees can be working in the office, or in a different part of the world. We will explain how a company can protect themselves so they are not defenseless against the enemy that might be lurking within their own walls.
Defining Employee Data Theft
Simply put, data theft occurs when an employee willingly decides to steal company confidential information (customer contact lists, social security numbers, credit card information, etc.). For many organizations, this kind of activity slips through the cracks and more often than not do not realize the employee has left with this information.
Did You Know?
Source: 2016 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report
Identify the Challenges
Employees stealing data is nothing new and it is a growing problem that most companies are ill equipped to handle. There can be many factors why they may not be able to have an adequate response to data theft, but the most common reasons are:
Operating under the assumption that they have enough security controls in place to mitigate employee data theft (i.e. firewalls, web filtering appliance, etc.)
There is a misnomer that a firewall blocking malicious activity trying to get inside the network is ample coverage to prevent data theft. These appliances will only prevent attacks from external sources, but obviously this will not protect data when an employee decides to email a database file to a competitor, or throws a USB stick in the port and starts adding files that belong to the company. It’s also noteworthy to understand that hardware appliance only protect inside the perimeter. When you consider remote employees that have access to data, a very large gap in coverage is widely ignored.
Placing too much trust that employees would never attempt to steal data
There is nothing wrong with having trust in employees doing the right thing, but it should not mean that a company should let their guard down and be susceptible to a crime. If one thinks they are betraying some kind of Employee/Employer trust, it is suggested to be transparent with employees and explain the company must always protect the data and their actions will be recorded in order to provide a secure environment for the data that is used within the organization. Just by explaining to employees this is company policy should deter a large amount of malicious activity, but not implementing software to protect the data should not be ignored because the facts are transparency and trust will not protect the data.
Management does not realize that there are tools designed to address data theft
Unless you have a cybersecurity team in place, most companies do not really understand that there are tools available that are specifically designed to identify and prevent employee data theft. It is understandable as not all people live in the security space and just do not think about these types of malicious activities. We have found more often than not, that companies live in a reactive state. Meaning, they already had the unfortunate experience of an employee stealing data and only then do they take data theft seriously enough to stop it from happening again.
How to Protect the Data
Knowing where data resides (at the endpoint) is the beginning of the process, not the end. Now that you know where the theft occurs, you need to monitor employee activity.
Monitoring employee activity is not as difficult as you may think. Interguard (our endpoint monitoring software) for example will record all employee activity and prevent them from sending files via email or USB drives.
What does InterGuard Record?
What does InterGuard Prevent?
InterGuard allows you to view and block sensitive data from leaving via email, web forms and removable media as well as data saved on local drives (even remote laptops). You can also create policies you can easily customize via a wizard based on the user, computer or type of data. This means that you can prevent someone from sending an email with an attachment, or if they try to send an email with specific content of your choosing. Additionally you can block files from being transferred to a USB drive. You can block all files or some, it is entirely up to your requirements. You also have the option to have employees submit override requests to management for files to be sent. The choice is yours…
I am sure that you can see the bulk of these activity recorders will capture data theft. InterGuard will record and report employee actions regardless if they are working in your local office, or if they are on the other side of the world meeting with a client. The software works seamlessly in the background so you do not need to worry about anyone tampering with InterGuard.
Access the Data 2 Ways
InterGuard will effectively protect company confidential data by providing you with recorded events at the endpoint from all sources where an employee could commit a data breach. You will have evidence to prove this has occurred.
Couple the Employee Monitoring module with the Data Loss Prevention module and you will have a robust automated endpoint security software that will protect you countless ways, and prevents data theft.
About Awareness Technologies
Awareness Technologies develops award winning monitoring software that records and controls all end user activity on all PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android phones and tablets, and blackberry mobile devices.
As the pioneer for Unified Insider Threat Prevention, Awareness Technologies’ SaaS-based service is easily available and affordable for businesses of any size – especially the SMB market. Architected at the endpoint, clients can access 4 technologies including DLP (Data Loss Prevention), Web Filtering, Employee Monitoring and Laptop Recovery, through one agent download and one control console.
Awareness Technologies has over 10,000 businesses world-wide currently depending on its solutions to protect their data from insider threats, and has been named on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Inc. 5000 and Software 500. In addition to running seamlessly in a local OS environment, Awareness Technologies’ products are also Citrix and VMware ready.
Our solutions allow businesses insight and provide details regarding employee activities on and off the network to make certain they are staying in alignment with the guidelines of company policies and procedures in a comprehensive, yet easy to manage cloud based environment.