Inspecting Employee Suspicions: Steps to Consider

An insider employee leaking data
  • Taking the necessary precautions during investigations will help protect businesses from financial losses due to data theft or sabotage.
  • Monitor employee activity using real-time monitoring, user account auditing, user behavior analysis, and data leak source identification.
  • Implement a standard operating procedure (SOP) for investigating employee suspicions to ensure all necessary steps are addressed.
  • Consider hiring a private investigator who can collect evidence outside the office and provide insight into suspicious activities that may have been overlooked.

Employees are potential suspects for business threats for several reasons. Business data and assets can be accessed by employees, offering them the opportunity to exploit any vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital infrastructure. Additionally, employees may be financially incentivized to steal valuable information or sabotage an organization.

Unfortunately, insider threats are becoming increasingly common in today’s digital age. A recent study conducted by PwC found that nearly one-third (31%) of cyber security incidents involve insiders either deliberately or accidentally accessing sensitive information or disrupting organizational operations. The same report estimates that the total cost of these cyber security incidents amounted to $3.86 million per incident on average – a significant financial burden for any organization or business.

However, it can be challenging to determine if employees are at fault, and you might not have all the evidence needed to make a confident decision. To gain a better understanding of any suspicions surrounding employee activity, here are some steps that you should consider taking:

Monitor Activity

Real-time monitoring of employee activity

>Monitoring employee activity is an important step to consider when investigating suspicions of insider threats, as it provides valuable insight into the behavior and actions of employees. Tracking employee activity on company systems can help identify potentially malicious activities or abuse of privileges. It’s important to monitor online and offline activities for employees, as suspicious actions may not always be visible in the digital space. Here are a few ways to accomplish it:

Real-time monitoring

One way to monitor employee activity is by deploying advanced security systems that provide real-time monitoring of data usage, system access, and user privilege levels. Ensuring tight access control over sensitive information or resources is essential in preventing unauthorized personnel from accessing confidential data or performing unauthorized actions on organizational systems. Network activity logging can also detect any suspicious traffic or other security events that could indicate malicious behavior.

User account audit

Another effective way to monitor employee activity is by regularly auditing user accounts, including any changes made in their privileges or roles. Regular audits allow organizations to investigate any suspicious changes or attempts at unauthorized access and ensure that users with privileged roles remain accountable for their actions. Data logs should also be reviewed periodically to detect abnormalities in user behavior and identify any potential misuse of company assets or resources.

User behavior analysis

It’s also vital to use comprehensive network analytics software that analyzes user behavior and alerts administrators when unusual patterns are detected. This software can detect abnormal patterns that could lead to data leakage, ransomware attacks, phishing scams, etc., enabling organizations to take action before severe damage is done.

Information leak source identification

Finally, you can use data leak source identification tools to pinpoint where confidential information is being leaked. This can be used to identify potential insider threats and take action accordingly.

Establish SOP for Investigation Process

A standard operating procedure (SOP) for investigating employee suspicions is essential to ensure that all necessary steps are taken and that the investigation is conducted fairly and efficiently. The SOP should include guidelines on collecting evidence, preserving data integrity, documenting activities, identifying potential insider threats, and reporting results. Additionally, the SOP should define clear roles for all parties involved in the investigation process and establish procedures for legal remedy if any employee activity has violated company policies or regulations.

Hire a Private Investigator

Private investigator showing report

Organizations may sometimes need an experienced national private investigator to handle employee suspicions. Private investigators can help gather evidence and provide insight into any suspicious activity that other methods of investigation could have overlooked. Additionally, they can assist in interviewing employees, conducting background checks, and providing expert advice on the legal aspects of such investigations.

Most transactions happen outside the office when giving up sensitive information, so it is essential to hire a private investigator who can collect evidence that may be hard to obtain otherwise.

Final Thoughts

By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, organizations can ensure that all suspicions of employee misconduct are thoroughly investigated, and potential threats addressed quickly and effectively. Doing so will help protect businesses from financial losses due to data theft or sabotage and minimize any disruption caused by such activities. Additionally, having an effective investigation process in place increases the trustworthiness of employees while helping organizations build a secure digital infrastructure.

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