Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Employee Negligence: 4 Ways That Data Can Be Unintentionally Leaked

Employee negligence - computer hacking
Employees can unintentionally be the source of data breaches.

These days business owners certainly need to worry about their data being compromised. According to CNN, cyber criminals on average cost a company $15 million a year. Obviously, this is no laughing matter. However, what you may not know is that much of this damage is often caused by negligent employees leaking sensitive company data. Here are four reasons why this is so:

1. Not Keeping Sensitive Data inside the Network

Companies, both large and small, have a lot of sensitive data. This can include things like customer billing information, trade secrets, research data and more. Such data must be kept inside the organization and only shared through programs that are part of the company network so that access is denied to outsiders. However, if this data is shared through third party apps, e-mail services, collaboration software and instant messengers that are not part of the company network, it will reach third parties as a default since those services use their own servers.

2. Using Insecure Devices

Like how all programs used to access company data should be part of the network, all devices used to access the network should also be verified as secure. While a Bring Your Own Device policy may seem like a clever cost savings measure, it can certainly cost you in the long run if company data accessed on those devices ends up in the wrong hands.

3. Responding to Phishing Scams

Insecure e-mail is certainly one way that cyber criminals gain access to the information they want to steal. Unfortunately, unsuspecting employees often fall directly into such schemes. One of the most often deployed strategies for gaining access to sensitive data is the use of phishing scams. The hacker will send an e-mail claiming to either be the company that the employee works for or a business partner. The e-mail will instruct the employee to supply information such as passwords, social security numbers, or other sensitive information in a reply e-mail or on a linked to website controlled by the criminal.

4. Lack of Knowledge

Overall, you can’t expect employees to intuitively know how to protect company data and avoid schemes put in place by hackers, corporate spies and cyber criminals. That is why security awareness training guides are paramount. All employees that have access to company computers or even simply company offices must be trained on how to maintain tight cyber and data security at all times.

Overall, make data and cyber security a priority at all levels within your company. The risks of not doing so are too high. You could have vital information stolen, and that could cost you millions in lost revenue, bad PR and class action lawsuits.

About the Author:

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism. If your company is looking for a security awareness training guide, she recommends that you check out Global Learning Systems.

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