Tips to Stop Data Theft

Five Ways To Stop Data TheftProtecting your company’s data is just as important as protecting your physical property. Many businesses do not understand how crucial it is to take steps to stop data theft. Data is incredibly valuable and can be used to seriously hurt a company if it were to fall into the wrong hands. Think about what could happen to your business if your company financial information, client lists, marketing plans and other sensitive data ended up in the hands of a competitor. According to a 2016 survey of 600 employees in seven industries by Biscom, employees are the greatest risk when it comes to data theft. The survey showed that:
  • 15% of employees would be more likely to steal data from their employer if they were fired
  • 85% of those who take data say that it’s not wrong because they’re only taking data they created
  • 25% of ex-employees stole data that they did not create
This survey also showed that employees take data for two main reasons:
  • Because the company does not have polices or technology tools that prevent data theft
  • Because the company ignores the polices that it does have
Since this is true, it’s obviously important that your company takes steps stop data theft by creating and enforcing polices regarding data theft. Here are some tips to do so.

Educate Employees

Many employees who take data from their employers do not consider these actions as wrong. To stop data theft, it’s important to educate your employees on how valuable data is as well as what constitutes data theft. Teach new employees these facts and periodically review this information with existing employees.

Establish & Enforce Clear Policies

It is important that you create a clear policy on data handling. This will help stop data theft. Make sure that you address issues such as the use of personal devices and company data (such as using a personal cell phone or laptop to create or access private company data) as well as the usage of file sharing tools and company data (such as emailing company information to or from a personal account or uploading it to a personal cloud storage site). Once you have these policies, you need to make sure that you enforce them.

Use Strict Permissions

Not all employees need access to all data. Consider using strict permissions to ensure that your most sensitive data is only accessible by your most trusted employees and those who actually need this access. This can help your organization stop data theft.

Keep an Eye Out

Monitor employees for large amounts of data transfer (for example) or for those who access company data at odd hours. While these may be legitimate activities, you’ll still want to keep an eye on them.

Respond as Needed

Decide how you will respond if data theft occurs and be sure to keep this response consistent with all employees at all times. A consistent reaction will help you stop data theft in the future. It’s also important to address what you will do if there is a cyber attack against your company and how you will handle disgruntled employees as well as those who have been terminated. You may wish to restrict access to critical data before terminating an employee, for example, to stop data theft and ensure that he or she does not take their termination as an opportunity to steal company data.