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Proactively Preventing Insider Data Theft Through Employee Turnover

security Most IT teams work overtime to ensure the security of their company’s data from external threats such as hackers, but little do they know the threat that lies within their company’s walls. As employees climb the ladder of authority, they get entrusted with vital data and trade secrets to help them run their new positions with enough confidence. In case of a turnover, there is no telling the amount of data that such employees can walk away with, not to mention the imminent threat that such a breach has in store for your company.

In fact, 69% of sampled companies experienced data loss following the aftermath of an employee turnover, according to Marketwired.com. IT professionals simply need to realize that insider data theft is equally as problematic as the external threats. With the right approach, the probability of such scenarios happening can be mitigated, if not eliminated.

Here are a few details on how to proactively approach insider data loss:

Understand Your Company’s Data Culture Comprehensively

The data culture of the typical modern day company is complex in that data is stored in a diversity of methods. For instance, you might use both the public and private cloud for your storage needs. The first approach when looking to eliminate any imminent threat is to have a bird’s-eye view of your data.

Learn about who has access to your data and what their intentions are. Determine whether the data is safe from insider threats both in transit and storage. The more detailed your data risk profile is, the easier it will be to come up with a viable data security solution.

Cut Off Their Access

Once an employee has left the company, cut off their access to your data. Work with your providers of IT services or your in-house IT team to formulate a plan for exiting employees to hand over access to the company’s data, according to Eire Systems. For instance, you can have a multi-layer authentication system where employees must have a password and a form of token for data access.

Such a process will mean that the exiting employee will never have access to your data once they leave – at least not legally. You can confiscate their token and delete their account to prevent further access to your company’s data

Have Clear Security Policies

It is surprising that 90% of employees exiting a company stole data due to the lack of the policies or technology to stop them, according to an article on Entrepreneur.com. The clearer your data security policy is, the easier it will be to curb insider data theft or loss. Train employees on the latest practices for protection from data loss such as how to avoid phishing emails and how to set strong passwords.

Inform them about the various data regulation policies in your industry and what to do to comply. Ensure that they understand the sanctions that can spawn from the breach of the policies. As long as they understand what is expected from them, the chances are that they will veer away from being an insider data threat.

Work With a Data Forensics Team

In spite of the stringent policies you have in place, a determined employee might still exit with volumes of your trade secrets. To take legal action against them, you will need to determine the data that was stolen and the amount of damage it caused or would have caused your organization. The problem is that most data theft cases are noticed months and maybe years after an employee turnover when the damage is already irreparable.


Before fully releasing an employee, conduct a forensic investigation on how they handled your data and identify any misappropriation, as noted on the Infosecinstitute.com website. Although this might seem like a rather obsessive approach, it is nothing compared to the imminent threat of a loss. Solve the issue in case you notice any loopholes.


Data loss can be traumatizing to any business. Anticipating the loss is better than getting surprised by it. Consider the above tips to safeguard your company’s interests.