How to Protect Your Business against Corporate Espionage
Employees are responsible for corporate spying. Companies lose up to $100 billion every year because of business espionage. Employees account for 85% of corporate espionage. It is also called economic or industrial espionage. Espionage is not only about spies working for one government and trying to get their hands on information about another. The same techniques are used in corporate espionage as well.
Computer breaches, hacks, and corporate espionage have been making news for a long time now. But it is nothing new and is not limited to technology either. Britain’s East India Co. stole tea plants, secrets and seeds out of China in the 1800s. A Gillette employee stole a new razor design in 1997 and sent to the company’s rivals. What’s more? Even a giant like Google is not immune to industrial espionage. Google suffered a cyber-attack in 2010 leading to a loss of a lot of intellectual property.
Types of Corporate Industrial Espionage:
As your business expands, chances of you becoming a victim of corporate espionage increase. Before we begin with the ways to protect businesses from it, it is important to first familiarize yourself with its different types. The common targets of corporate espionage are getting hands on a company's trade secrets, client information, and financial information.
Industrial espionage involves theft. This can include techniques, formulas, recipes, intellectual property, and proprietary information. People are hired to get into the company and steal information. Sometimes, break-ins are involved as well. Here are some of the methods used in industrial espionage:
Hacking into the rival’s computer system
Attacking competitors website with a virus
Trespassing on to rival’s property
Accessing files stealthily
Getting a job in the competitor’s company to learn their secrets and confidential information
How to Protect Yourself against Corporate Espionage:
Here are some tips for you to protect your business from corporate espionage:
Be Careful while Hiring
The main source of industrial espionage is unhappy or disgruntled employees. They steal trade secrets and confidential property and then sell it to rivals because they are angry. So, whenever you are hiring resources, be sure to conduct a thorough background check to know who you are hiring to work for you. It is essential that you do some research which can reveal something about their past behaviors, employment, and connection to competitors that indicate a bad influence or easy manipulation by the hackers.
Also, periodic checks are equally important. They can help you in letting you know right away if they are engaging in any kind of industrial espionage. Using an employee monitoring software could be of great help. But there are some signs that are rather obvious. See if their living standards have changed, they are taking sudden trips or are acting suspiciously. These are red flags that something new is going on in their lives and isn’t consistent with their current income in your company.
Print the Necessary Documents only
You become vulnerable to information theft if you print a lot of important information on paper. Chances are, they will get in the wrong hands, eventually. Anyone can easily pick up papers, steal them, copy them or take their pictures. Print only that information which is absolutely necessary. Also, make sure that it is safe until it reaches the intended person. Make sure that the documents containing vital information are not left lying around carelessly.
Strong Passwords and Double Verification:
It is difficult to remember passwords. And that is why a majority of people use the same passwords for pretty much everything. This can be unsafe and leaves you prone to malicious and hacking software. You could try using a password management software tool. These tools set secure and complicated passwords for your websites. But, you need to remember a single password only. This is a great way to increase your site security and keep it safe from hackers.
Some of the critical systems need more safety. In that case, you can use double authentication to keep your information secure. This helps in adding an extra layer of protection.
Establish a Shredding Policy:
It is important that you have a document shredding policy in place in your organization. Most of the information theft takes place when important documents are left unattended or not safely discarded when they are of no use. Anyone can grab a document skim the information, take a picture and put it back.
This calls for two things. First, securing the documents as stated earlier, so only the relevant people can access it. The second thing to pay attention to is that any document, which is no longer useful should go straight to the shredding machine.
Monitor Employee Activity:
As most of the corporate espionage is carried out by employees, it is essential to monitor your employees. There is simple employee monitoring software that can help you in tracking employee activity. It is one of the best ways to prevent, identify, and catch an employee performing any unethical activity. This makes the employee actions fully visible. You can track the employees’ activities on their computers with help of software. Also, many companies give cell phones to their employees for work purposes. If you do too, then you can install Xnspy employee monitoring software on the phones. The app fetches all the communication information to your online web account.
This monitoring software would help you keep track of your employees’ digital activities, text messages, calls, web browsing history, email, and their whereabouts as well. You can install Xnspy on the company provided cell phone of an employee who seems suspicious to you. The app will get you all that is going on the phone.
On the other hand, many employees should know that when they get gadgets or devices from the company, their actions will be fully visible. When employees are aware that their activities are tracked, it could keep them away from corporate espionage. When they know all of their actions and communications are visible, chances are they wouldn’t even think about carrying out any unethical activity. Employee monitoring software now protects thousands of businesses around the world against corporate espionage.
Business owners can now know who is trying to sabotage the business, stealing information and selling it to the company’s rival timely and that too, with proof.
Any business, whether it is big or small, could suffer at the hands of corporate espionage. It could be in the form of a cyber-attack, or in the form of a mole working amongst your employees as your own. Taking the right steps can keep your company's secrets and confidential information safe. You can implement all of the above measures in your organization easily.
As far as installing an employee monitoring software is concerned, it might sound intrusive but is inevitable. There are numerous apps and software out there to track your employees but, you would want the one that is safe and actually works. Xnspy happens to be one of them. It can assist you in detecting any unusual activity or action that goes against a company’s ethics and policies immediately so you can take a timely action.