Over the last few years, companies around the globe, in every industry, have seen their sensitive internal data lost, stolen or leaked to the outside world. High-profile leaks, like that of Edward Snowden, made headlines and struck fear into many companies worried that disgruntled employees could walk off with documents or data that would result in tremendous damage to their brand and reputation if made public. These risks are pervasive across the organization – not just with unhappy employees — and particular attention needs to be paid to those who have access to the most sensitive information. Often overlooked are the C-suite and board of directors, who may approve corporate data policies but are never trained on them, and who likely have the most unrestricted access to data and access to information that the IT team may not know exists. In this slideshow, Diligent looks at what information is at the greatest risk when an executive or board member leaves.
Identifying Data at Risk
Click through for more on the information that is at greatest risk when an executive or board member leaves an organization, as identified by Diligent.
New Business Pipelines and Contact Information
Setting the long-term strategy for the business has always been a part of a board member’s role, in particular the critical oversight of mergers and acquisitions that can help drive growth. Board members and executives have access to potential deal information long before the average employee. Because of the potentially market-moving nature of these conversations, it is important for companies to stay in control of the information and ensure board members and executives are communicating through secure platforms, like a deal room, a board portal and encrypted text messaging services.
Valuable and Aggregated Customer Data
Even if your organization isn’t a consumer brand or retail bank, your customer data is incredibly valuable and potentially devastating if it falls into the hands of a competitor. And depending on your industry, if this information leaks, you could potentially be in breach of contract with your customer. Board members and executives receive customer data likely at every board meeting to help make more informed business decisions.
Sales Projections and Confidential Management Presentations
The board also regularly reviews detailed sales and financial information, as well as other presentations from executives – and like the customer data, should this information ever fall into the hands of a competitor, it could have serious consequences. This information can also be used to game the stock market, as seen in 2014 amongst the 100 publicly traded companies whose executive emails were hacked.
According to an EY survey, three out of four board members said that human capital strategy is one of the top emerging risks they’re tackling in 2016. In particular, boards are focused on succession planning within the organization, as having the right people to execute on strategies is an important imperative for success. This means board members have access to information for existing employees rising through the ranks, but also top-tier candidates from other organizations.
Security Passwords to Exclusive Platforms
Restricting network access is a must when any employee departs, but IT teams must also ensure that the same happens for any third-party software and tools. It is essential that these are set up to allow the company to quickly and easily restrict access at the user-level, even if the data does not reside in-house.