By Michael Cormier
Cybercrime is a growing problem.
That’s not exactly news. Incidents of cybercrime have grown almost exponentially ever since the internet came into vogue as a means of information exchanges between relative strangers.
What’s most important to note, however, is just how widespread the problem has become. Credit card fraud, viruses, hackers, blackmail, criminal harassment—they affect all of us in some way. Even those lucky few who have never been the victim of an untoward act via the internet had to buy antivirus software to make that claim.
The workplace is certainly not immune. Companies, large and small, commonly report losses from cybercrime. Moreover, one study a few years back found that most cyber theft against businesses was committed internally by its own employees, contractors and vendors.
For this reason, it’s important that every business utilize the services of a reputable background investigation firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901). Hire Authority can help weed out potential criminals before they ever set foot in the office.
Though it may be tempting to ignore that advice to save a few bucks, it just isn’t smart to go it alone. As quickly as businesses ramp up their internal security through measures such as limited computer access and monitoring computer activity, so do the cybercriminals’ methods. Not to mention the morale problems it causes for the good eggs who feel that these measures are too invasive.
And let’s face it. Most employees these days, from upper management all the way down to the mail room, have some kind of access to company computers. Such wide access to internal databases has become indispensable in the modern business world. The upside is increased efficiency, but the downside is increased vulnerability.
In this realm, an ounce of prevention can prevent tons of aggravation and losses. Here are just some of the ways in which an unethical or angry employee can cause serious problems for your business:
- Embezzlement: Embezzling company property isn’t restricted to writing unauthorized checks anymore; it often occurs by fudging inventory records right on the computer, or stealing credit card information, etc.
- Theft of Intellectual Property: Stealing a company’s money or inventory is one thing, but stealing its work product can be equally bad. A lot of expensive labor goes into developing ideas, inventing new products and compiling valuable data. Lifting that information takes only seconds, and can be used against the company in the future.
- Sabotage: The ways in which a disgruntled employee can harm your company via computer access are limited only by his imagination. Not just by setting viruses loose to wreak havoc on your computer’s software, either. How about altering information, or damaging databases in order to slow down production or damage the company’s reputation?
- Sexual Crimes: Sexual harassment in the workplace may not always rise to the level of a crime, but it can. Using the company computer to harass other employees, even when it doesn’t meet the definition of a crime, can have a number of serious consequences for the company.
A background investigation by an experienced firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901) can weed out problem employees before they ever set foot in the office. A thorough and legally conducted criminal background check may reveal convictions for fraud, embezzlement, theft of intellectual property, etc. A thorough investigation may lead to other information as well. For instance, the employee’s file at a past employer may contain a written warning for perusing restricted company records or sending sexually explicit photos to a co-employee.
The point is that the best line of defense is a good offense, and that’s what background checks are all about.
But what if your company has already been a victim? What if, for example, you’re certain that you’ve had proprietary information stolen and it’s being used by a past employee at his new firm?
A full-service investigation firm like Hire Authority can help with that, too. Hire Authority has at its disposal some of the best-trained computer forensics personnel, who can help prove your case, stop any future use of that information, and possibly secure monetary damages.
So when it comes to preventing—or proving—cybercrime, don’t go it alone. Remember: utilizing a top-tier background investigation firm like Hire Authority (www.hireauth.com; 508-230-5901) can make all the difference.
The foregoing should not be construed as legal advice. Employers should always consult their own legal counsel for advice on labor and employment matters.