Businesses today are under pressure to make their operations as secure as possible. The need for cybersecurity, business continuity planning, and CCTV is vital to businesses of all sizes. It was estimated that cybercrime cost businesses over $6 Trillion in 2020.
While protecting against outside threats is a priority, companies also need to make sure that they are vigilant against internal threats too. That’s right, employees can pose a threat to your business too. Sometimes this may be accidental, and at others, it is a deliberate act against your company.
There are some basic ways you can ensure that you’re company is protected from these internal threats.
Vet potential employees carefully
When hiring, you always want to make sure any new employees are a good cultural fit, but also that their history is checked too. At a minimum, you should be ensuring that you take up references, verify and job critical qualifications listed and ensure they do not have a history of fraud or other relevant criminal records. If you work in certain sectors, you may also be required to do more thorough checks to ensure that they are able to work around children or vulnerable adults.
It’s not only financial threats you’re looking to avoid. Hiring the wrong person can badly damage your company’s reputation and potentially put you at risk of lawsuits if they are treating other employees unfairly or illegally.
Update the employee handbook
Set out all of your company rules and procedures in your company handbook, and provide training wherever necessary. Having these laid out in writing can educate staff and also make it clear what is and isn’t acceptable and what the consequences will be.
Conduct regular checks and audits
Financial theft happens more often than you might think. It can be something small, such as padding expense reports through to fullscale financial mismanagement. This often goes unnoticed for long periods of time because there are not suitable systems in place to catch these issues early.
Get your cybersecurity in shape
Cybersecurity isn’t just about keeping out external threats. It’s also about training your employees not to unwittingly make your data vulnerable. The sudden boom in remote working has lead to remote employees being targeted on an unprecedented scale with phishing scams and data theft.
Provide detailed training to employees on data security, password use, common phishing scams, and using unsecured networks. By improving their knowledge, you’re plugging potential holes in your cybersecurity.
For example, a worker might decide to head to a local cafe or co-working space for a day and connect to the free wi-fi, not realizing that they are vulnerable to having important data stolen.
Another basic tip is to enable two-factor authentication on any relevant systems and enforce certain password standards.
If you believe that an employee has purposefully or unintentionally shared sensitive information. You should take steps to secure this immediately. For example, if they have had their laptop or corporate phone is stolen, you can remote wipe it or hire a hacker for cell phone if you don’t have the capacity to do this in-house.
Restrict employee access to data and systems
Not every employee needs to be able to access every file and system you have. By limiting this access to only the job-related systems they need, then you’re reducing the risk that they could accidentally or purposefully take and distribute sensitive information about your company.
Install CCTV in relevant areas
You don’t have to go all Big Brother on this, but CCTV in areas where you hold stock, cash, or expensive equipment can reduce the risk that it will be stolen. Additionally, if you do discover stock has gone missing, or that you’ve been burgled, you can use the recordings as evidence.
Be upfront and clear about your CCTV policy and where exactly the cameras are, you don’t want employees to feel watched.
Plan employee exits carefully
In certain roles, such as sales. It used to be common to put employees working their notice on gardening leave if they were moving to a competitor organization. This meant that they wouldn’t be able to remove any sensitive information from the workplace while they were working their notice.
This does still happen in some industries but digital information is now more common than paper-based, it doesn’t really make sense unless there is a specific business need for it. Plus, anyone planning to take information would most likely do this before they resign (which is why your need good cybersecurity).
If you’re planning on firing an employee for any reason, you will have to think about what they have access to and shut it down quickly so that they cannot take information or carry out any retribution for losing their job. There have been horror stories of disgruntled employees being left with access to the company’s Twitter account or banking systems.
Ensure your employment contracts are fit for purpose
It’s not uncommon for people to work for companies that operate within the same sector and are in competition with each other. But you don’t want your clients walking out the door with them. In some circumstances, you can have restrictive covenants added into contracts that prevent the employee from approaching existing clients for a period of time after they’ve left the company.
You should also make explicit the terms of intellectual property concerning any products or services they have worked on while employed by you.
The list above isn’t meant to scare you. All employees are not out to defraud or damage your company. The majority of employees would never even consider such a thing.
However, it’s a good business practice to have these protections in place. Companies grow over time and you might not be able to be as hands-on as you once were when you started the business. So you need to rely on your systems and procedures to do the work for you.
When planning your security, don’t forget you need to consider both internal and external threats to your business.