In order for companies to defend their intellectual property and keep their clients’ private information secure, they must frequently assess the threat of an internal employee, or external agency, leaking information to the public. As a result of these assessments, corporations have developed formal guidelines on how to increase in business espionage resistance. Some of these measures are so general that they may not actually decrease the problem. Therefore it is important to understand all the elements involved in the internal employee vs. external threat and then develop a plan to counter this issue accordingly.
The first step toward developing a more secure internal communication process is to carefully watch employees as much as possible. External threats will often come from those who want to serve their country or are former military. While we may all be tempted to think that the only people who give away confidential information are spies, that is not always the case. Employees, especially those who work at the top of a company’s food chain, have access to a great deal of sensitive information and may often be tempted to use this information for themselves or others.
If you suspect that employees are leaking information, take steps to stop this activity. Inform all current employees that unauthorized disclosures of company information will be handled very strongly. Inform current employees of their responsibility to report any such activities when they occur. Involve them in the creation of a specialized internal communication reporting system that combines all the information into a single location. Give current employees training on how to properly use such a reporting system and update it regularly.
Next, it is important for corporations to develop effective internal security policies. These policies should include the specific actions to be taken in the case of an internal employee who leaks information. Often the worst thing that can be done is to simply fire someone because they leaked information. This will increase the risk of the competitor stealing valuable intellectual property and you will likely lose valuable client relationships. Instead it is far better to find out why an employee has decided to leak information, learn what measures were taken to prevent the activity from happening again and implement stronger internal controls.
The best way to reduce the risk of an employee divulging information is to always remain actively involved in the prevention of any theft or leaks of information. Formal training, frequent seminars and workshops, security policy audits and rewards for good performance are all important tools to ensure your employees take the maximum measure to protect your information. The best way to increase corporate security is to invest in corporate security software. This software can quickly identify all kinds of potential threats to your company, give you detailed reports and alert you to new threats before they become serious enough to be worthy of serious attention.
Finally, the most effective way to increase corporate security is to build a comprehensive and integrated internal security plan. A good plan will not only concentrate on trying to prevent information leaks and espionage but will also focus on trying to catch perpetrators as well. It should be comprehensive and include multiple elements such as risk assessment, threat management, IT and information technology planning and implementation. When trying to prevent an employee or a group of employees from leaking information it is important that you make sure the entire organization is behind the security measure. If you do not take this step, then you may find that an increase in business espionage can actually reduce your company’s assets.