Many small businesses do not have the time or resources to develop and enforce effective security policies.
the escalating use of mobile devices and tablets, along with the growing number
of telecommuters, it's critical for small businesses to stay on top of employee
activity. According to the Ponemon Institute, the costs associated with data
breaches caused by careless or malicious employees can be detrimental to an
SMB-insider breach incidents cost businesses an average of $3.4 million per
business per year.
Ponemon's survey found that 60 percent of exiting employees walked out with
company information. That added to the productivity loss caused by unmonitored
employees-the average unmonitored employee wastes approximately 30 percent of
their workday on nonwork-related Web browsing-is costing small businesses more
than they realize.
most large corporations have standard employee monitoring rules in place to
prevent wasted time and the potential for data leakage, many small businesses
have neither the time nor resources to develop and enforce effective policies.
Penna, chief strategy officer at Awareness Technologies, outlined seven
employee monitoring approaches for small businesses to protect their
intellectual property, prevent vital information from being leaked and maximize
employee productivity. Penna suggests evaluating employee security and
monitoring procedures to address the increasing threat posed by untrained,
careless or malicious employees and limiting employee access to certain
Websites by blocking inappropriate Websites on both on- and off-network
connected computers, especially off-network laptops.
businesses should also restrict user privileges based on the role of the user
in the company, Penna said. "For example, allow junior executives access to Web
mail, but not be able to use it to send confidential data or be allowed to use
potentially problematic programs such as peer-to-peer or encryption software.
Restrictions can also be applied to entire departments or contracted workers,"
should also implement policies that forbid employees from copying files onto
removable media like USB drives or transmitting them via Web mail systems and
social networks. In addition, they should implement policies on keeping copies
of files contained on company laptops and periodically refreshing the list, so
that businesses have a record of information in the event of laptop theft or
Penna said businesses should consider installing laptop and mobile protection
software that allows for the ability to remotely access and delete data from
devices in the instances where they are lost or stolen. "Don't make the mistake
of relying solely on encryption to ensure that information remains
confidential," he said. "Set behavioral triggers to notify appropriate
department heads when risky behaviors are conducted by employees in their
department such as transmitting confidential information to unauthorized
parties or participation in unproductive or inappropriate activities."