Reports of companies being hit by cyber-attacks and hacking attempts are on the rise, as security specialists work around the clock to find ways to protect sensitive data from these external attacks – when, actually, the real danger lurks within: data theft is most commonly committed by internal staff. According to Germany’s domestic intelligence service (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, short: BfV) 63 % of the companies affected state that sensitive data has been stolen from them by former or current employees.
This tends to occur most often when employees leave a company to join the competition. Most affected by theft are databases containing customer contacts, training materials, presentation documents and strategic papers. Example: When joining a new company, sales persons can boost their popularity at the new office if they are able to bring existing customer contacts to the new workplace and thus generate revenues quickly.
Interestingly, not all wrongdoers are aware that their actions are illegal. Many people believe that the work and contacts they acquired during their time at a company are their property – but this assumption is wrong! According to copyright law and the law against unfair competition, these actions are indeed considered criminal offences.
The question is: how can you avoid and prevent your employees from stealing data?