Your employees present one of the weak links in the chain when it comes to protecting your sensitive data, whether through negligence or due to malicious intentions. If you do not take precautions with your employees, the risk of problems with data security can greatly increase. So what can you do to reduce the risk?
Be Careful Who You Hire
The risk of someone getting access to your sensitive data increases when you do not have a suitable hiring process in place to weed out the people who are more likely to present a risk.
For example, if your employees will have access to sensitive data at some point, make sure that you carry out background checks on them before you hire them. You should also ask them targeted questions during the interview process to help decide whether they could present an unnecessary risk before you provide them with access to any sensitive material.
Restrict Access to Sensitive Data
A simple way to reduce the risk of data theft is to only provide access to the data to those employees who really need it. Be very careful about who has access, and make sure you know exactly who they are at all times.
In addition, make sure that you change passwords when an employee leaves to prevent them getting further access to your information, even if you have no reason to suspect them. This is important even for social media accounts.
Provide Adequate Training
Even if all of your employees would never dream of stealing your company data, they may provide access to it through human error. This is where effective staff training comes into play.
You need to instruct staff on all of the areas where they could make mistakes, such as how to dispose of sensitive data properly rather than throwing out potentially sensitive documents in the rubbish. If they need to send sensitive information by fax, make sure you have procedures in place such as calling the number first to check that it is right. You should also have rules for using online services and social media to ensure they do not make mistakes that could lead to a data breach.
Control Mobile Phone Security
If you provide company phones to your employees, make sure they password protect their devices. Provide them with information on how they should look after their phones and make sure they follow rules about data security: what they can and can’t download to their devices. You could also use a remote wiping feature to provide an extra level of security in case their phones are lost or stolen.
Improve Data Security
Even if your employees are honest, they are still capable of making mistakes. You should therefore take precautions to ensure that your data is better protected. Follow the above guidelines and you can help to reduce the risk of problems occurring. When your devices are finished with, make sure that you follow data security guidelines.
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