Workers Prepared to Steal Corporate Data


You must have seen the news report this morning of how employers have slashed a stunning 533,000 jobs in the month of November alone-the highest figure in 34 years. This news brought to mind a survey that was recently conducted on office workers in the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Apparently, out of 600 office workers surveyed, a staggering 71 percent admitted they will steal sensitive data if they are suddenly fired.


In case you think your organization is safe from data theft because it is not currently "streamlining" its headcount, the survey also showed that rumors of looming job cuts are sufficient to push up to half of workers to abuse their IT access privileges in a bid to locate the redundancy list.


Favored targets for theft range from customer contact databases, strategic plans of the company, product information and passwords. Flash memory sticks appear to be the common denominator for this nefarious act, though other methods such as photocopying and CDs are also mentioned.


So how can your organization mitigate against employees making off with company secrets? You can't. This is especially true of SMBs, where a lower headcount in the IT department might mean that there is only one network engineer, or one system administrator. In such a scenario, it might well be impossible to set up a system with strong checks and balances in place.


The only real defense against such dishonesty boils down to the character and values of individual staffers, and the effectiveness of the hiring process.


At the end of the day, though, it is certainly still a good idea to take precautions against staffers who might attempt to erase crucial company data for various perceived grievances. One way to do this is to ensure that backups of all mission-critical and other important data are diligently done. In addition, these copies should ideally be located at off-site locations, and under the jurisdiction of another staff member.


With the current economic situation not showing signs of getting better any time soon, it is more imperative than ever to protect your company against internal sabotage. So make sure you backup, backup, and backup.