It’s been a long, long time since we all started to commence work directly from our homes, and it doesn’t seem to be ceasing any soon. As the experts suggest, telecommuting is going to be the next normal- making it a mandatory step for all the companies to double-check their security measures.
It is no brainer why employers are worried about letting their staff handle their company data outside the premises. But, here’s a thing- with a few months in hand, the employees did learn how to stay safe from the potential online threats- malware, viruses, hackers, etc. What’s worrisome here is the potential threat that exists offline, the threat to data breaching.
Insider threat management is an inevitable skill that every employer must possess in order to maintain decorum among their remote workforce. Design policies that allow you to define the types of risks that you can identify and detect in your organization. Quickly take appropriate steps to make sure nothing goes out of hand, and the staff takes responsibility for their future actions.
Modern Risk Pain Points
Insider threat management begins by understanding the types of risks existing in the current workforce. You cannot take charge of the risks that occur due to external forces, for instance, employees using public WiFi, sharing of devices with the family, letting unauthorized devices to connect with their private WiFi, etc.
But you can control the unethical, inappropriate, illegal, or unauthorized actions and behavior of the people working in your organization. Such behavior includes:
✔️ Confidentiality Violations
✔️ Leakage/spillage of sensitive data
✔️ IP (Intellectual Property) theft
✔️ Insider trading
✔️ Violations of Regulatory compliance
As distant workers, we all need access to view, create, manage, and share data as per our assigned tasks without any restrictions as there’s no face-to-face interaction happening. As a result, the employers get limited tools and resources to keep a tab on everything while also meeting the user privacy standards.
Using a third-party service like a monitoring software assists a lot in identifying, tracking, and acting on any such activities beforehand without invading the employees’ privacy. EmpMonitor is one such tool that allows its users to identify risky activities and assists in insider threat management.
EmpMonitor lets an employer in setting the following principles in the premises:
1. Transparency: Introduce transparency in the remote workforce with regular screenshots, browser history, a list of most used apps, etc.
2. Data Security: Keep a tab on the sharing and management of files, and check for the apps and websites your employees usually visit.
3. Productivity: Get a detailed analysis of user activities and productivity graphs and enhance overall output over time.
4. Accountability: Make your staff more accountable for their movements with the accurate records of everything that they do.
BTW, Here are 9 Smart Productivity Hacks To Get Most Of Word Done
The Early Indicators of an Insider Threat
There are a handful of ways to determine if any of your employees might pose a risk for your organization. Make sure you observe their actions to pick up the hints (if any):
1. Odd Working Hours: A majority of us have flexible shifts now that we work from home, but that doesn’t account for a day shift employee to check their emails suddenly at midnight. It may or may not be okay once in a while, but the managers must check for any suspicious email exchange if it happens more often.
2. Sharing of Unnecessary Files: Some of us might like sharing our work with our colleagues and friends, but it wouldn’t still make any sense if one does so with irrelevant files. Do not brush that off. The file may contain intricate documents, and before you know, it may get into the wrong hands.
3. Suspicious Online Activities: Insider threat management has a lot to do with what your employees do on the internet, especially during working hours. Look for any website that may sound fishy. Track the kind of links that your employees visit and share.
4. Unexplained Financial Gain: Working with freelancers might explain this situation a bit, but any average employee only gets a financial blow when the company provides them with it. Check for the staff who suddenly seem to be earning more under the table, and may even decide to leave your company.
5. Disagreement with Policies: Anyone who is highly vocal about how much they dislike company policies could possess potential insider threats. They may want to get revenge or change policies through extreme measures. Try to keep a check on the activities of such people.
How To Implement Insider Threat Management
Insider threat management is more than staying updated with user activities- it also involves staying prepared for any consequences beforehand. Here’s your guide to maintaining a safe and secure work environment, even when your staff carries out their work from their homes:
1. Create Separate Official Accounts
If you want to keep a record of all the exchanged emails and texts, create separate accounts for the employees for their official use. You cannot look into their personal email accounts, so you create one for them that remains official. Apply this for all the other accounts that they create- LinkedIn, Grammarly, Canva, Quora, etc.
Maintain a record for the ID and password for each staff member and do not let anyone else get access to it other than the management and the HRs. This way, you can always check for whatever they are up to during their working hours without interfering with their personal space, and there would not be any privacy issues.
2. Install Monitoring Software
Keeping track of your employees is not an easy task, even if you have surveillance cameras on them in the office. Having an employee monitoring tool on their devices will let you get an exact record of their activities and will improve the overall discipline.
Installing such tools is especially wise when letting the staff telecommute. There are various options in the market- one of the best being EmpMonitor. It takes regular screenshots of your staff’s screens and records their activities to present you with graphical data of their productivity. EmpMonitor also gives you a list of browsing history, the most used apps, IP whitelisting, and many more.
3. Restrict Personal Email and Social Media
Creating separate official accounts is not enough if the management still allows its staff to use their personal accounts. This way, you may never know the source of the information leak as you cannot check their personal IDs. It is, thus, advisable to prohibit the employees from using their personal accounts.
Insider threat management becomes more feasible this way. The chances of phishing and unnecessary data tracking also reduce when not using social media on a device. So it also assists in avoiding potential online as well as offline threats.
Bonus- Read, Tips To Manage Your (New) Remote Employees
4. Implement Strict Policies
Making the rules is one part of the game- implementing them is the real deal. A lot of employers tend to let loose their old employees when caught for unethical behavior. This way, you lower the bars, and the remaining staff stops taking the company policy seriously.
Also, as a matter of fact, not all the old employees stay loyal to their companies, and some of them may be breaching data for long. The only way to find it out is by catching hold of every suspicious employee and taking necessary legal actions on them irrespective of their designation.
5. Get Regular Updates
Stay updated with the status of every project and task from every single employee. Look for any possible work-theft and find out if an employee seems to spend way more time on their devices as compared to the total work done.
Set a common time for all to send work updates, for instance, in the morning, the lunch hour, and in the evening. Go through the links that the employees visit and the type of content they go through when researching online for any project. Monitoring tools are an easy way for you to do that.
Look into your employees’ screens and keep a tab on their activities in real-time with EmpMonitor. Get regular screenshots, statistical productivity analysis, internet browsing status, and many more with us.
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Ready for a Safer Work Environment?
Insider threats are bound to occur in any workforce, and it gets riskier when letting your staff work from their bedrooms, in an unprotected environment for sensitive data. Make sure you follow all the points that I mentioned above to have a secure and transparent work environment. Insider threat management is not a cup of tea, but it is, surely, not as complicated as it sounds. Act before it’s too late.
Did I miss any point? Would you like to add something? Have any doubts or queries? Please let me know in the comments below; I would love to hear from you!