Employee Data Theft

September 20, 2018
by Elizabeth Cusulas

Employee at Computer - Employee Data TheftThis guest post was provided by Elijah a multi-award-winning leader in expert digital forensic, data security solutions, and managed IT.

As employers, we usually train then share our company secrets and documentation with our employees. We also inform our employees that regardless of where the Documentation and Intellectual Property is stored – on computers, tablets, smart phones, etc. – this information and data belongs to the company and that it needs to be safeguarded. Despite this, roughly two thirds of all departing employees take company data when they leave. When an employee that quits, gets fired, or otherwise leaves, AND keeps company data, it is called Employee Data Theft and is often the subject of lawsuits and violations of law.

In their final days, employees can often deliberately or inadvertently retain possession of client lists, trade secrets, and other important information. Some employees are predictably more likely to engage in fraud, embezzlement and other types of misconduct. Disgruntled employees, who may not be happy about their job performance or their last review by management may be likely candidates for employee data theft.

So, what can you do to help detect and deter employee data theft?

First and foremost, educate your staff members when they are first hired that any documentation stored on company computers, tablets, smartphones are proprietary and belong to the company. In addition, any personal devices used in the business must be analyzed first, then cleansed of any company data prior to departure.

Add an addendum to the company Employee Manual notifying all employees and contractors that Employee data theft is a crime.

For proactive employers that do wish to investigate for possible data loss from an employee, here are a few tips:

  1. Immediately upon the employee’s termination, take possession of the departed employees computer equipment (i.e. computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and store it in a safe location. DO NOT give the computer equipment to the IT department for redeployment to another employee. The data needs to be preserved and do not turn the unit on. All equipment should stay powered off.
  2. Contact your internal HR, Legal, & Security teams to arrange to have the drives imaged and analyzed. If your internal departments are not equipped to perform this imaging and analysis process or if you need a qualified expert to testify on your behalf, please reach out to your trusted Security Vendor.

For those business owners that want a specialized method of collecting this data in an expedited fashion, contact your trusted IT Security Vendor to run an electronic collection process.

ELIJAH is a trusted IT Security Professional that specializes in the field of Computer Forensics and can track the computer activity of outgoing employees to help avoid expensive misappropriation incidents. ELIJAH’s Data Loss Detection program can help you identify likely offenders and prevent significant financial losses. ELIJAH helps companies restore and retrieve lost data. This is the benefit of working with a trusted IT Security professional.

About Elijah

Founded in 2003, ELIJAH is a multi-award-winning leader in providing expert digital forensic, data security solutions, and managed IT. ELIJAH is owned and managed by former litigation partners and is an efficient boutique digital forensic, cybersecurity and IT solutions provider that makes clients’ lives easier through effective communication and white glove service. For additional information, please visit http://www.elijaht.com or call 866-354-5240.