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Employees Leaking Information to Competitors can be Easily Tracked with Monitoring Software

In the world of business, trusting staff is a tricky balancing act. On one hand, trusting staff and giving autonomy can greatly increase job satisfaction and motivation. However, at the same time, giving staff too much freedom can result in problems.

These problems are diverse, from simply not meeting deadlines, to compromising company systems and data security. When the company is in a competitive market, the “inside agent” possibility comes into play. This is when a competitor manages to persuade a staff member to sell company secrets. Sometimes, it is the staff member that first steals the secrets and offers them to competitors. Either way, it isn’t good for business or reputations.

However, preventing such acts is possible, with a little bit of foreplaning. Understanding that this is a likely possible scenario, allows company owners to prevent it. Monitoring software is often one of the major tools of prevention. So, let’s look at implementation and benefits.

Ways Staff Data Leaks Occur

These are the most common ways data is leaked because of staff.

  • Employee is tricked into breaching systems – often using viruses or malware
  • Employee is offered some benefit in exchange for acquiring information
  • Employee realizes the value of the information, copies it and sells it to competitors
  • Employee is blackmailed or threatened into providing information

How Monitoring Software can Prevent Data Leaks

It is not always the employees intention to cause a problem, often it is simply human error. However, with monitoring software in place, it is possible to prevent a lot of the issues that can be caused by human error. It can also warn and help to prevent or stop potential issues before they happen.

Ways that Monitoring Software Prevents Data Leaks

Monitoring software can prevent employees leaking data by:

  • Monitoring and learning employee behaviour – reporting issues and deviations
  • Protect sensitive data with restricted access to files or programs
  • URL filtering – blocking known malware or spoof websites
  • Status alerts for potential issues in real time – stops issues before they become serious
  • Monitor from anywhere – even when staff take devices home and/or are offline
  • Provide evidence for an employee investigation or legal action
  • Logging and monitoring everything – from programs used, to keys typed and even file movements, everything is recorded and alerts raised if not usual

With monitoring software in place, employers can feel more comfortable about allowing employees to do their jobs with more autonomy, but with far less risk of data breaches or issues caused by negligence, naivety or criminal intent.

Implementation of Monitoring Software

Implementing employee software can feel like a big step. Many employers feel concerned about how to introduce it to the workplace. However, at the end of the day, it really comes down to two approaches:

Covertly – Having someone setup the systems at a time when employees are unaware. The monitoring and alerts are set up in a way that isn’t obvious to employees that there is monitoring and management software in place. Reports and alerts then get passed to management. The downside of this is when employees realize, or when an issue occurs and the use of monitoring software is revealed, staff can be quite agitated and concerned about what was monitored.

Openly – By openly discussing the introduction of monitoring software, employers can get employees on board with the approach. They can explain how this type of software helps prevent human errors, and protects employees against accidental actions that could result in being fired or even legal action. By explaining the positives, and making sure employees know they are being monitored, this approach often not only prevents negative actions, but also improves productivity.

Are You Considering Employee Monitoring Software?

If you are, don’t wait! The current situation for businesses is quite concerning, especially for those that do not invest in security. With being online 24/7 in many cases, businesses are continually under attack from hackers, spoofers, malware and more. Add to that employee data breaches: the need for all round data protection is quite clear.

Most businesses currently see data security is a case of pay now, or potentially lose a lot more later. With EU data protection penalties starting at 20mil Euros and the reputational damage alone destroying some major players, is it worth the risk of avoiding investing in data security?

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