The Human Factor: How can Enterprises Prevent Insider IP Theft

The Human Factor How can Enterprises Prevent Insider IP Theft-01

Insider IP theft is on the rise as a result of the Great Resignation. Intellectual property theft by insiders is very real, very dangerous, and most organizations aren’t prepared to deal with it.

Data security risk has always been a critical issue when it comes to departing employees. Simply put, employees take their data and files with them when they quit their jobs. They might take things like client lists, source code, and other trade secrets that can help them land or succeed in their future job. According to Code42’s “2020 Data Exposure Report,” more than two-thirds of employees have taken data to a new job more than once.

However, the risk of departing employees has increased as a result of the so-called “Great Resignation”, and Microsoft estimates that 41% of the global workforce and 54% of Gen Z are planning to leave their positions in the next year.

Obtaining Intellectual Property Has Never Been Easier

Another aspect of the issue is that data has never been more portable, making it easier to take. Employees today can easily save hundreds of gigabytes on their mobile devices, send corporate documents to their personal Gmail account, and transfer data to personal cloud storage providers in a matter of seconds. The “Great Disruption” — the widespread shift to decentralized and remote work — has greatly exacerbated the data portability issue. Employees are now 85 percent more likely to lose or leak data than they were pre-pandemic, according to Code42’s Data Exposure Report, as they increasingly connect remotely and conduct their routine work and collaboration through cloud apps.

Also Read: Understanding Cyber-Risk is Key to Post-Pandemic Recovery and Growth

This is a problem that can be solved

Some of this is unavoidable – employees will quit the organization — and they will try to steal data with them. Insider IP theft is not unavoidable. The issue is that traditional data security techniques, such as data loss prevention (DLP), can’t keep up. They weren’t built for today’s fast-paced, cloud-based, on-and-off-network work environments. Their strict regulations are constantly out of step with what users are really doing. And the blocking strategy is a business inhibitor. DLP and other older tools are no longer functional.

Here’s what even the most seasoned DLP experts may be overlooking in their insider risk and data security strategies:

Focused assessment of the most serious threats: Data security policies that are one-size-fits-all are ineffective. Businesses are well aware of who their greatest threats are. They should have mechanisms in place that make it simple to target high-risk groups, such as departing employees. They should not forget about new hires: organizations should ensure that the new employee isn’t stealing IP from a competitor, placing the company at risk of legal action.

Comprehensive visibility: If data security solutions limit visibility to what security teams want them to search for, blind spots are developing every day. All data activity on endpoints, on and off the network, and in the expanding number of authorized and unauthorized cloud apps needs to be visible to companies.

Also Read: Risks Associated with M&A in Terms of Security and Compliance

Context is crucial to drive quick, effective response: To respond swiftly and effectively, security teams need to be able to see the context right away, including the who, what, and how of an event, as well as the ability to access the specific files in question.

Organizations have a forward-thinking strategy by combining these three capabilities which aligns with another important trend in today’s business environment: risk tolerance. In the name of agility, speed, and innovation, almost every business now understands the necessity to tolerate a certain level of insider risk. They won’t be able to tolerate risk unless they can notice it first, and they won’t be able to establish a limit in risk tolerance unless they have the means to successfully respond when risk exceeds that barrier.

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