Every organization is aware that a data security program or document security solution is only as relevant and successful as the users who understand it. For document security policies to be followed among your users, they must comprehend and concede with the established data security procedures in place.
Your users could include employees, shareholders, third-party vendors, and any permitted individual who has access to your documents and data. However, these groups can also be possible insider threats.
If permitted users are individuals who have licensed authority to valuable data, files and documents from the start, shouldn’t they be the ones who must maintain policy compliance? In other words, you need to introspect whether your users understand your data and document security policies and if they don’t, would you notice or discover it? Based on new data on workplace and insider threat risks, the answer is not likely.
Typically, there are two kinds of insider threats that exist in an organization. One type of insider threat is an individual with malicious intention, and while the second category is the least talked about, they hold the greatest threat to data and document security – careless or unintentional insider threats. Users who erroneously cause a data breach can be either a company’s own employees, third-party consultants or vendors. So, on the one hand, you have an insider who wants to cause damage to the company they are working for purposefully and on the other, a user who inadvertently releases sensitive information, confidential documents, or exposes classified data without a spiteful purpose.
Unfortunately, when it comes to a data risk taking place, the intention is not so much of a concern as the outcome of the incident – crippling losses, damage to brand and reputation, loss of customer loyalty, substantial legal fees, compliance penalties and more. A survey that took responses from more than 1000 full-time employees revealed that over 64% of the respondents were aware of the concept of an insider threat. Approximately 62% of the participants also recognized that careless staff or erroneous insider threats were common causes of data breach incidents. In line with independent information released by the Ponemon Institute, the data revealed that carelessness caused over 60% of all insider threat incidents in the past one year.
Data Security policies and Document Security solutions
These similar studies reveal how users have a lack of confidence or awareness in data or document security policies which brings us to the point on why organizations are not taking additional efforts in coaching their users on data security policies, the use of document security software, and the best practices to avoid data breaches. In the Ponemon Institute study, 90% of the respondents between the ages of 45 and 64 revealed that they follow their company’s data security or document security procedures. On the other hand, over 30% of participants between the ages of 18 to 24 reported they did not understand or were not aware of the inclusions and exclusions in their company’s data or document security strategies.
While in principle, Baby Boomers and Generation X may appear to be the least risky generations with regards to data and document security, and Generation Z posing the highest data security risks, in actuality, it could be more complicated. If you consider the fact that the questions were grounded in self-reflection, it would appear that Generation X or the Baby Boomer respondents may have a lot to lose as compared to a Generation Z employee who could be just starting out in their career.
Regardless of the multigenerational mindset, what is important to glean from this data set is the surging volumes of individuals who believe their actions are secure in the workplace with regards to classified data and an equally overwhelming amount of people who believe that users are careless in handling confidential, sensitive or classified information.
Despite the threats stated above — that is likely to be somewhere in between — the fact remains that the number of data and document security incidents are not abating.
Ultimately, the goal of every organization must be to enhance their data-security policy awareness modules and inform their staff and users accordingly. Training and document security awareness among users can prevent errors and blunders in the goal of data security. With digital rights management or DRM, organizations get added visibility into user activity with real-time alerts in detecting and investigating, and most importantly, preventing data infringements from taking place.
Since insider threats are people-centric, it is crucial to detect early indicators of risk by observing their activity while simultaneously placing relevant restrictions on documents. For example, you might want to restrict editing of PDF documents, disable printing, automatically expire documents after a period of time, and lock PDF files to devices so they cannot be shared. For really sensitive or confidential documents you might want to lock documents use to locations so that they can only be viewed in the office. A DRM solution can achieve all this and more, ensuring your documents are always protected regardless of their location.
Regardless of whether user behavior is intentional or malicious, a strong data security policy aligned with a document security solution such as DRM can help your company protect against insider threats and document leakage.