In the past, business processes left the kinds of paper trails that made insider fraud and malfeasance easy to detect. But in the digital age, all of that’s changed. As a result, an astonishing 95% of businesses now report encountering problems with employee theft.
And theft isn’t the only problem that businesses are having with their employees. It’s also becoming far more common for insiders — employees with legitimate credentials — to misuse their access to enable cyberattacks on their employers. Such attacks can have far-reaching consequences and can even threaten the very survival of a business.
The situation means that more and more businesses find themselves in the unenviable position of having to police their workers’ activities. It’s a task that’s difficult to accomplish, and that doesn’t always sit well with employees. The key, however, is to limit employee surveillance to only what’s needed to adequately protect the business’s interests. Here are the three major areas businesses should focus on.
Computer Use and Data Access
Although thefts of money and assets can do damage to a business, they’re far less likely to represent a fatal blow than a successful cyberattack. That’s why the most important thing that businesses must keep tabs on is how their employees are using company-owned computers and networks. At a minimum, they should employ a single sign-on (SSO) solution to tightly monitor and control which employees have access to which systems and data.
But they should also consider deploying an employee computer monitoring solution to see how employees are using their access. This can alert managers to suspicious behaviors that might indicate a rogue employee before they can do serious damage. And if the software makes its presence known to workers, it can also serve as a powerful deterrent against malicious activity.
Financial Data and Fraud Detection
After cyberattacks, financial fraud represents the second-largest insider threat to modern businesses. And for that reason, businesses must monitor all of their financial data for signs of fraud at all times. For starters, they should pay careful attention to employee expense accounts, as expense fraud makes up a significant share of fraud perpetrated by employees against their employers. To combat it, businesses must provide employees with guidance on how to keep track of business expenses — and then audit the process periodically.
And beyond that, it’s also a good idea for businesses to adopt machine learning and AI technology to monitor business accounts for signs of fraud. Today, multiple vendors offer fraud detection solutions that use AI for this purpose, and they make for an excellent proactive defensive measure. They continuously learn from the business’s regular financial patterns and are quite adept at spotting anomalies that might indicate a threat.
Facilities Access Control
Last but not least, businesses should monitor and control their employees’ access to company facilities. It’s a type of physical security that most businesses are familiar with and have practiced for many years. But today’s businesses have — and should take advantage of — complex access control and surveillance systems that go far beyond issuing keys to individual employees.
To prevent theft, access to facilities should be both tightly regulated and schedule-based. The goal is that only employees with legitimate reasons to be in the office have access to come in. And businesses should consider augmenting their camera-based surveillance tech with AI-driven cloud solutions that can spot the signs of physical theft in real-time.
Secure But Not Overbearing
By using the right kinds of technologies in the right ways, businesses can effectively police their employees and spot trouble before it harms the business. And they can do it in ways that won’t ruffle the feathers of their employees and that won’t be a distraction. Of course, employers should feel free to expand their surveillance as necessary depending on their needs. But by covering the three major areas noted above, they should be able to defeat the biggest insider threats they face. And that’s a goal worth pursuing, for sure.
Interesting Related Article: “The Legality of Employee Monitoring“