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    August 25, 2023

    Unintentional Data Exposure: 8 Common Ways Employees Accidentally Leak Company Information

    In today's digitally interconnected world, safeguarding sensitive company data has become crucial. While companies invest resources in strengthening their cybersecurity defenses against external threats, it's crucial to acknowledge that significant vulnerabilities can arise from within. Accidental employee data exposure, often ignored, poses a considerable danger to organizational security. This article delves into eight typical situations in which well-intentioned employees can unknowingly put confidential company information at risk.

    1. Emailing the Wrong Recipients: Sending sensitive information to the wrong email addresses due to auto-complete mistakes or selecting the wrong contacts can lead to unintentional data exposure. Employees might inadvertently reply to an email thread containing sensitive information and include unintended recipients.

    2. Overlooking Security Settings: Sharing files or documents without properly configuring security settings, allowing unintended people to access the information. In cloud-based storage systems or collaboration tools, misconfiguring sharing settings can result in unintended access to documents and files by unauthorized individuals.

    3. Using Shared, Same, or Weak Passwords: Weak passwords or sharing passwords among colleagues can lead to unauthorized access to company systems and data. Reusing a password means an attacker can obtain credentials from one website and then use it to gain access on another website. 

    4. Not Performing System Updates and Upgrades: Keeping personal and work devices up to date is essential for security purposes. Regular updates provide security patches that prevent cyber attackers from exploiting device vulnerabilities. Employees must stay informed about updates and their significance.

    5. Using an Unsecure Network: It's risky to use company devices on unknown networks. Such networks may not have encrypted data, making it easy for hackers to steal. Login details can be exposed when accessing emails or social media on public networks. Additionally, viruses and malware can be easily distributed over such networks.

    6. Using Personal Email for Work Purposes: Transferring company data to personal email accounts can expose sensitive information to external threats and compromise security. Personal email accounts are typically not as secure as work accounts. They might lack the advanced security measures, encryption protocols, and regular monitoring that business email systems have in place to protect sensitive information.

    7. Lost or Stolen Devices: Misplacing laptops, smartphones, or other devices that contain company data can result in data breaches if the devices fall into the wrong hands. An individual who finds the lost device might attempt to steal sensitive data for malicious purposes, including identity theft, corporate espionage, or selling the information on the dark web.

    8. Unintended Screen Sharing: Sharing your screen might inadvertently display sensitive documents, confidential data, proprietary information, or personal information to meeting participants who shouldn't have access to that data.

    Companies seeking to fortify their data security protocols, training, and technologies against accidental employee data exposure can amplify their efforts with ISO 27001 certification. ISO/IEC 27001:2022 is the information security management system standard designed to specify the requirements for the implementation of security controls within an individual organization. It also covers physical control and IT security issues. This globally recognized standard establishes a systematic approach to mitigate information security risks, ensuring data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. In Nemko, we maintain a lean setup, enabling us to make decisions promptly and ensure swift results. Our auditors bring in an invaluable experience that cultivates a culture of ongoing improvement. We highly prioritize interacting with our customers, ensuring that our observations and feedback are clearly communicated to drive tangible enhancements. Our approach remains down-to-earth and practical, and as auditors, we take complete ownership of our customers throughout the audit process and cycle.


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