According to the latest research from Ponemon, employees are data security enemy number one. The study, derived from interviews with 2,276 employees in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, reports that 67% of IT professionals say their organization experienced the loss or theft of company data over the past 2 years and 74% of IT professionals believe that employee mistakes, negligence or malice are frequently the cause of data loss.
It is not just the IT professionals noticing a problem, either; 71% of employees believe they have access to data they shouldn’t.
Best practices for restricting access
A majority of security experts agree – IT professionals need to restrict employee access to data. There is no reason for every employee to have access to all company data. It is dangerous and illogical. The following are the best practices for restricting and controlling data access.
Practice the principle of least privilege
Too many companies operate on an “open all” policy. This policy makes data available to everyone unless you restrict access to certain documents. The policy of least privilege is the opposite. It functions like the CIA – people only have access to what they need to know or have clearance to access.
Remove privilege a needed
Employees frequently move positions within a company, so make sure their access changes with their move. In addition, don’t forget to restrict ex-employee access. According to the 2014 Intermedia SMB Rogue Access Study, 45% of former employees retained access to “confidential” or “highly confidential” data and 49% could log into ex-employer accounts.
Have a written policy
While information security rules may seem like common knowledge to you, that is not that case for many people. You need a written (and enforced) policy that spells out security restrictions so employees are not giving restricted data to those without the clearance to see it.
Give the people what they want
Your employees want an easy way to access files on multiple devices and to collaborate with their coworkers; this desire is leading to the use of personal services like Dropbox or Google Docs. To protect your data from public clouds and personal accounts, you must provide a file sharing service that’s as user-friendly but also gives IT full control over access privileges. It needs to be really user-friendly, though; employees are going to choose to use the easiest tool, whether or not it is the safest.
These are just a few security options; leave a comment below with your best data-restricting advice.