Why Employees are the Key to Protecting Company Data

Data theft is one of those events that can send chills down the spine of any business owner or executive. It is an unfortunate reality that most instances of data theft are propagated by employees who are an integral part of the company.

However, by understanding that employees are key to data protection, the right policies, procedures and workplace learning can be established. The damage that’s caused when data leaks is immense and could even lead to legal suits and loss of trust from customers.

However, business owners and managers need to understand that data protection failure can arise from complacent employees. If they don’t take data protection protocols seriously, they end up exposing the company’s network to potential risk. In fact, one of the most common means for hacking corporate data often starts with a seemingly innocuous email. Also, employees who use online services for work, non-approved software and failure to protect confidential information can increase risk.

To protect crucial data, employees should be made more aware of the existing IT policies by providing them with pocket manuals or posting important guidelines on the company’s website. They should be trained on the importance of accessing data through secured online networks only. An emphasis should also be on login security and installation of encryption software. However, not all files are electronic in nature and paper based files should be locked in a drawer and the company must maintain a central storage room where access to sensitive documents is allowed to employees with a genuine need for them.

Moreover, organisations should educate workers on how to secure the devices that they use especially when they are using cloud or other online services to access business data. It takes a split-second for viruses and spyware to intrude a corporate network. This makes it critical to be vigilant and use advanced network protection tools. Websites that aren’t work related and which are considered to be high risk should be blocked.

Nonetheless, managers should educate their employees about the dangers of forwarding and opening emails from people they don’t know. They should also understand that it’s dangerous to install software that isn’t recommended. Employees who leave the organisation also pose a major risk and as soon as someone leaves the company, access to the IT network should be restricted.

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