People are the most important asset of any business. When working for the betterment of the organization, they can help the company flourish. But what if they are working against the company? Rogue employees are one of the biggest concerns of companies in this age. A rogue employee is one who perceives that he has been wronged and then finds ways to get even with company. Using the current communication technologies, it has become very easy for disgruntled employees to run a smear campaign against their employer.
According to the results of a survey conducted by Avecto at the recent Infosecurity Europe conference, 41 percent of security professionals identified rogue employees and insiders with ill will as their main concern.
"In today's increasingly complex threat landscape, organizations are quickly learning that employees don't have to be malicious to put a company at risk," said Mark Austin, co-founder and CEO of Avecto. "The most common threat comes from employees who download and install unauthorized software, without understanding the potential risks associated with their actions.
What Harm Can Rogue Employees Cause?
• Steal confidential business information including customer information;
• Start a smear campaign on social media;
• Identify minor irregularities and report to authorities;
• Destroy company records and electronic data;
• Steal company property;
• Act in a manner that exposes the company to liability;
• Embezzle money from the company,
• Steal clients;
• Become an industrial spy;
• Secretly work for a competitor while working for their employer;
Prevention is Better than Cure
The ideal situation is to prevent the rogue employees from harming the company rather than reacting to a rogue incident. Here are a few tips for prevention:
• Put in place appropriate, legally enforceable contracts that provide the company with the most protection against malicious acts committed by the employees;
• Monitor and review the information systems in the company including staff communication with clients, accounting information etc. Have effective and clear information security policies to deal with matters like access to sensitive information;
• Train your managers to be vigilant, while avoiding micromanagement;
• Conduct risk assessment of the business, especially in the sensitive areas such as finance, customer database etc. and put in place effective measures to prevent malicious activity;
• Since we live in a connected world and tarnishing someone’s name is a matter of a few clicks, make sure that you have some sort of social media policy in place. Many companies include a non-disparagement clause in their contract, which outlines that the employee agrees not to speak/comment negatively about the company or its employees in public forums such as social media as well as in other forms of electronic communications such as email.
How to Deal with a Rogue Employee?
If one of your employees goes rogue, there may be two ways to handle it:
1. Enforce a binding contract: If you had the foresight to have the employee sign an airtight binding contract that prohibits employee’s engagement in public discussion about the company and also prevents other forms of harm to the company, you’ll just have to worry about having the contract enforced. Once the employee breaches the contract, you can take legal action.
2. No leverage: On the other hand, if you don’t have such a contract, you will need to initiate communication ASAP to contain the damages. Many times an employee’s grievance is only due to the fact that she wasn’t heard and treated well at the job. This you can fix with honest communication and by admitting wrongdoing (if any) at the company’s part. Once the employee is defused, you can find a way to alleviate the grievance.
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