Data Theft and Departing Employees – Why it Matters (Part 1)

An estimated 92% of all new information was recorded electronically, according to a UC survey from 2002. Nearly two decades ago. In businesses, an estimated 97% of all documents are now created and recorded electronically. With this in mind, there is the very real and often overlooked concern of departing employees taking confidential company data with them.

A company’s employees, across various departments, have access to all kinds of data. They could include sensitive HR information, sales data, intellectual property data, product and manufacturing plans, databases, customer & client information and more. They belong to the company but are accessible by employees.

It isn’t uncommon for employees to leave companies. Most times, it’s a voluntary exit but there are occasions when involuntary terminations occur, due to employee cuts or poor job performance. At this point, it’s common for these employees to depart with confidential company data, accidentally and even intentionally. Company data is always at risk when it’s accessed, even more-so at the time of departing employees.

Electronic documents are easy to copy, portable and far more prone to theft than paper documents.

Here’s why your employees might take your company’s data with them, as a business owner:

Accidental. We’re at an age when data is continually synced between multiple devices through the cloud so an employee inevitably accesses corporate data on a smartphone or from home. When departing, this data could remain behind on a personal laptop, a shared cloud drive or a desktop at home.

Malicious Intent. Nobody likes being laid-off and disgruntled employees often have a personal vendetta against their immediate superior or the company as a whole. Others might steal information maliciously just to profit from revealing the data to their next prospective employer.

Entitlement: Other departing employees may feel entitled to claim company data as their own. A salesperson or a partner at a law firm with a cache of key clients could justify themselves into taking the data with them.

In Part 2, LIFARS will outline the best ways to protect your organization from data theft.