A shocking 59% of employees who quit or are fired take confidential or sensitive business information with them, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute

In today’s connected, digital business world, it’s incredibly easy to steal confidential information.

Thieves can get away with millions of sensitive files before they’ve even walked out of the office door, or in many cases without ever being in the office in the first place.

Unfortunately, data breaches from employees pose one of the biggest threats to businesses. According to a 2015 study by Intel, 43% of all data loss was caused by internal actors, with half of that being intentional. That means nearly a quarter of all data losses are the result of employees intentionally stealing data.

As we all know, data theft can be extremely costly for companies. A 2015 study by IBM found that average total cost of a data breach was $3.79 million USD, with each lost or stolen record costing an average of $154 USD.

So how can you protect against it?

4 Ways Employees Steal Data

In any office, employees have a range of different devices, software, and channels at their disposal that can be used to take data:

1. Smartphones

The ubiquitous smartphone can be used to connect to corporate email systems and networks where their considerable memory sizes can hold a lot of downloaded information. They can also be used to take photos of sensitive documents.

2. Memory sticks

Probably the easiest way to take data, USB sticks, and memory cards can be plugged directly into company computers and can also hold a lot of information.

3. Email

An old favourite, email offers a very convenient way to send documents out of a secure network. Thieves can use both company and personal email accounts to achieve this.

4. IM

Most IM suites allow transfer of attachment files. Your precious data can be Skyped, Whatsapped, Facebooked, (etc.) out of the office under your very nose, with no one ever being the wiser.

How to protect against it

Until recently, it was tough to keep an eye on all of your files and work devices. Luckily, monitoring technology now offers a practical solution. Employee monitoring software can be remotely installed onto all your company computers, smartphones, and tablets and records exactly what applications and websites each employee is using. These solutions monitor emails, IM messages, and files that are accessed or copied.

You can even alert managers when sensitive files are accessed or copied, or when suspicious keywords are used. Activity can be recorded to be used as evidence in any further proceedings.

It’s a great way to keep an eye on your employees and get a very early warning if any of them are up to no good.

Over To You

Have you ever caught an employee stealing data? If so, how were they lifting it?

Tell us in the comments section below.