How to Stop Data Theft

A man running away with a stolen bag.

Data theft is the unauthorized or illegal copying or transfer of personal or confidential information belonging to an individual or corporation. Computer-based information, including technologies, process-oriented data, software code, algorithms, passwords, copyright material, social security numbers, credit card information etc., can be intercepted and stolen from an unsuspecting victim.

Tablets and smartphones, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices, have become an integral part of our lives. Experts estimate that by 2020, every person will have more than 6 connected IoT devices. Today, we use these devices several times a day to store and retrieve important personal and work-related information. However, given their ease of accessibility, business-critical information on these devices can easily become available to hackers and cyber criminals.

Employee negligence is the leading cause of over half of cyber attacks

According to a 2017 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report produced jointly by the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security, negligent employees and fragile password policies are the two weakest links in an organizations defense against cyber-attacks.

Ponemon surveyed 1,040 IT security specialists at SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) across North America and UK and found that employees are often the root cause of cyber-attacks and data breaches. A whopping 54 percent of data breaches occurred on account of careless employees.

Additionally, 58 percent SMBs had no clear password policies, and 68 percent stated that password policies weren’t strictly enforced.

The cost of data theft can shut down a small business

The consequences of data theft can be crippling, particularly for SMBs. According to the above mentioned report, 52 percent of the surveyed SMBs experienced a ransomware attack in 2017. In the same year, the average cost incurred due to theft of IT assets exceeded $1 million, while disruption to normal business operations cost an average $1.2 million.

Essentially, just a single incident of data theft can put a small company out of business.

Data loss prevention software

So how should a company protect itself from cyber threats, and what are best tools available to prevent data theft?

Apart from mandating cybersecurity training for employees and enforcing clear, easy to understand password policies, companies should engage cutting-edge software tools to defend against cyber-attacks. CurrentWare’s AccessPatrol is one such product that helps secure company endpoints like USBs, DVDs, Bluetooth devices, etc. One click is all you need to assign full, read-only, or no access to endpoint devices. What’s more, with AccessPatrol, endpoint device accessibility can be managed both on and off the network. This ensures that your company’s password and data security policies are at work even while your employees are telecommuting or off the network.

For careless employees or those that abuse data security policies frequently, AccessPatrol allows you to generate comprehensive reports that highlight endpoint device usage by computer and by user. In essence, you can identify errant employees and take immediate action to prevent data pilferage. On the other hand, if endpoint device usage is necessary for business operations, AccessPatrol allows you to track and generate PDF and Excel reports of all data transfer activity.

Along with AccessPatrol, all companies should be enforcing the use of other security
software. Company-hosted password managers make sure all work-related passwords
stay safe and encrypted. Installing a company-wide VPN will help employees maintain
privacy while online. There are plenty of security solutions available for you and your

Data theft can rob you of thousands of dollars and countless hours of hard work and effort. Use the latest technology to prevent employees from causing data breaches and enforce cybersecurity polices.

How to Stop Data Theft When Offboarding Employees

The employee offboarding process presents significant data security risks. Employees have intimate access to corporate data, insider knowledge of the organization’s systems, and a level of trust that can allow them to steal data undetected.

  • 70% of intellectual property theft occurs within the 90 days before an employee’s resignation announcement
  • 88% of IT workers have stated that they would take sensitive data with them if they were fired
  • 72% of CEOs admit they’ve taken valuable intellectual property (IP) from a former employer
  • 50% of respondents in a Symantec survey say they have taken information, and 40% say they will use it in their new jobs

These vulnerabilities need to be addressed as part of any insider threat management program. Click here to learn the best practices for protecting data during a termination and gain access to a downloadable IT offboarding checklist.

Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu is a Product Manager with CurrentWare. He enjoys helping businesses improve their employee productivity & data loss prevention efforts through the deployment of the CurrentWare solutions.
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Download this FREE removable media policy template to help protect the sensitive data in your custody.

👉 Set data security standards for portable storage

👉 Define the acceptable use of removable media

👉 Inform your users about their security responsibilities

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