Protection Against Internal Threats Series
Does Securing IT Systems Protect Your Most Valuable Commodity?
Not enough coverage is available on the Internet through insightful articles, blogs and discussions concerning the serious liabilities of internal or insider business threats. This series of articles will educate and heighten your individual level of consciousness by focusing on the least observed security Achilles heel for any business. Practical case scenarios with proven solutions are provided. Following the Protection Against Internal Threat Series by C U Clear positions companies and organizations to proactively protect assets and information from internal vulnerabilities. Our goal is to help you minimize situations that can harm company reputation, client / customer relationships and head off potential incidents of workplace violence.
Most companies and organizations invest large amounts of capital in the physical protection of information technology assets. This technology investment comes with consultants that maintain hardware and program software safeguards. Company executives mistakenly develop a false sense of security thinking this approach protects their most valuable commodity; employees, customers or clients. Protecting information is important. In today’s fast paced cyber world, the acquisition of the latest information technology systems capable of withstanding and recovering from external (and I would add internal) cyber threats is a ‘soup du jour’. Others spend capital on erecting complex, elaborate and technically enhanced physical security systems.
How do organizations fulfill an even more critical, often overlooked, task of protecting employees and customers? Smart CEO’s and savvy senior executives can enhance security in several areas:
- Enforcing a strict policy on vetting new employees, as well as periodic background reviews of current employees.
- Conducting comprehensive background checks, to include any documented criminal activities, arrest records, warrants, financial stability assessments (credit), driving records, education and employment verifications.
- Developing or sustaining an effective Drug & Alcohol testing program.
Minimizing Risk Is For Leaders Who Dare Make Critical Decisions
Depending on the type of industry or business model, only serious and savvy company leadership develop vetting policies that are “comprehensive” and to some degree, mirrors the United States federal government security clearance model. We encourage that applicants and current employees should be subject to periodic security RE-evaluations throughout their employment life cycles. In addition to record checks, engaging an “experienced screening company” ensures that these events are thoroughly conducted with a high level of degree. Partnering with trained, experienced investigators provides a company with an extra added value and insurance for its longevity, with the following actions:
- Conduct physical, on-site interviews with potential employee candidates.
- Canvass neighbors for character references and perceptions.
- Talk with co-workers and past employers for employment references.
- Contacting school officials adds another “company culture fit” perspective.
CEOs and senior executive leaders who fail to require these elements to their employee background checks or investigations are lulled into a false sense of security. A relaxed approach can potentially place a company at risk and a state of complacency. Company vulnerability and exposure is trip wire for disaster when capital versus risk analysis forces decisions that result in doing the bare minimum to protect employees and clients.
Many businesses, corporations, organizations, institutions, and government agencies ultimately are exposed to an array of potential negligent hiring and retention law suits and other problems when a security related incident occurs and an employee is involved, whose background was either never or passively checked.
Protect Your Corporate Achilles Heel
In many instances, updates on background checks and investigations for existing employees holding certain U.S. federal security clearances are driven by an “event”.
Throughout the years, C U CLEAR has witnessed companies that ‘put the cart before the horse’. Offers of employment are made and applicants begin working in that company while the background check is still in progress. In some cases employees even leave their current jobs for a new position without completion of the required background check process.
2 strategies should be considered to minimize company exposure:
- Develop a corporate policy of background checks every 1 or 2 years. This minimizes risk much better than allowing long periods of time lapses based on security level specific [i.e. five, ten, or fifteen years] being the trigger for investigations. In many instances, updates on background checks and investigations for existing employees holding certain U.S. federal security clearances are driven by an “event”.
- Make job offers for employment contingent upon completion of a “front end” background check.
Check out our next article in C U CLEAR’s Protection Against Internal Threats Series: “Know The Difference Between Trust and Confidence”
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