When Employees Leave, So Does Your Data, Research Reveals
One in three (32%) employees have taken or forwarded confidential information out of the office on more than one occasion, according to a recent survey commissioned by information management company, Iron Mountain. When people change jobs, highly sensitive information is particularly vulnerable. The study showed that many employees have no qualms about taking highly confidential or sensitive documents with them when they leave – and most believe they’re doing nothing wrong.
Along with databases, employees who take information are walking out the door armed with presentations (46%), company proposals (21%), strategic plans (18%) and product/service roadmaps (18%) – all of which represent highly sensitive and valuable information, critical to a company’s competitive advantage, brand reputation and customer trust. The study found that employees who resign don’t generally take information out of malice; they do so because they feel a sense of ownership or believe it will be useful in their next role. Two thirds said they had taken or would take information they had been involved in creating, and 72% said they believed the information would be helpful in their new job.
The picture changes, however, when employees lose their job. The study revealed that as many as one in three office workers (31%) would deliberately remove and share confidential information if they were fired. “Companies concerned about information security tend to focus on building a fortress around their digital data and then forget about the paper and the people.” Patrick Keddy, Iron Mountain Executive.
The findings highlight the need for information management policies to be developed closely with human resources as part of a corporate information responsibility program. Firms of all sizes, across all business sectors, need to ensure that employee exit procedures are robust and compassionate, and that guidelines recognize that how people feel directly influences their behavior and actions.
If your organization needs assistance in developing information management procedures for departing employees, reach out to IST Management Services for assistance. We’re here to serve our customers!
*The Bulletin, Information and Records Management Society