4 Ways to Cut Down on Internal Employee Data Breaches

Data breaches may adversely affect a substantial part of your customer base and result in large financial losses. Although most people believe cyberattacks are initiated by individuals or groups outside the company, the majority of data breaches result from unintentional or malicious acts by internal employees. Fortunately, you can help reduce the threat of internal employee data breaches by taking action in these four areas.

1. Provide Ongoing Training

Provide ongoing employee training on cyber security. For example, develop policies and procedures for handling confidential information. Train your employees on their responsibilities for enforcing those policies and procedures. Also, discuss ways data breaches may occur if your employees don’t uphold their responsibilities. Have your employees sign a document stating they understand and will fulfill their duties. In addition, remind your employees to not open suspicious emails that may contain malware or view websites that may be used to phish for information. Furthermore, stress the importance of your employees choosing passwords with more than six characters, including symbols and upper- and lowercase letters, changing passwords every 30 days, and not sharing passwords. Additionally, ensure your employees use secure Wi-Fi networks to reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks.

2. Allow Limited Access to Information

Provide your employees with the minimum amount of access to information needed to perform their duties. Because the majority of insider attacks happen 30 days before or after an employee’s last day, your employees may use their email account or VPN login to access your company’s servers. This may open up your company to all kinds of data breaches. Therefore, you should monitor each employee’s email account and VPN login leading up to their last day, if possible, and terminate access once the worker is no longer with your company.

3. Monitor Online Behavior

Monitor your employees’ online activities to uncover unusual activity. For example, review usage reports to proactively identify potential issues and resolve them before they become bigger. Also, communicate with and provide consistent sanctions for employees involved in activities that don’t comply with your company’s policies and procedures. Show your employees why their actions are noncompliant, what potentially harmful consequences could result, and which sanctions will occur if the employees are involved in another potential data breach.

4. Model Company Culture of Cyber Security

Because employees typically follow the behavior of colleagues and executives, every employee at every level needs to model a culture of cyber security. For example, your managers should consistently talk with their teams about how data security requirements align with team members’ work responsibilities to ensure teammates understand the importance of compliance with company policies and procedures. Also, your leaders should request real-time feedback on how effective your information controls are on completing work in a reasonable amount of time to reduce inefficiency.

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3 Mistakes to Avoid When Using Big Data to Make Employee Decisions

Big data may be helpful in making decisions about your employees. However, predictive analytics shouldn’t be the only foundation on which you base your judgments. Here are three mistakes to avoid when using big data to make decisions about your employees.

Being Secretive with Healthcare Data  

If your company uses healthcare data to make better healthcare decisions, be transparent about it with all of your employees. Because many companies use outside firms to predict health risks in their employees, your workers may be concerned that you’re using the data to predict which employees may become sick or pregnant or develop serious health conditions, then terminate those workers to save on healthcare costs. Therefore, it’s important you show your employees that you respectfully use HR analytics in ways that comply with HIPPA and all privacy and HR laws. For example, you may point out that HR analytics help evaluate your healthcare costs and wellness programs to determine their effectiveness, find out whether there are gaps in healthcare coverage or employee benefits, and uncover ways to improve your programs. You may also compare employee and company data to industry data to offer the best, most cost-effective healthcare coverage and benefits to your employees.

Using Predictive Performance Analytics to Make All Decisions   

You may use predictive performance analytics to help make decisions about employees, but you should incorporate human input as well. For example, you may use predictive analytics to help manage and train employees, assess future hiring needs and create a pipeline of talent, yet you should still gain supervisors’ and HR’s input on exactly how to proceed with each employee. Also, you may use predictive analytics to determine which employees get promoted or fired, yet you should gather input on individual performance from supervisors and HR before making a final decision. This will help you avoid wrongful termination lawsuits and other issues.

Focusing on Details Rather Than the Big Picture   

Use big data as a guide for making decisions about your employees while focusing on the big picture. Ensure you don’t use only one piece of data for hiring or firing and that your actions are honest and legal. For example, if your analytics show that employees who live closer to the office are more likely to work for the company longer, avoid using that information to terminate employment for workers who live farther away. Rather, form your hiring and firing decisions based on individual performance and what’s best for your company.

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