Espionage is everywhere in the corporate world. Spying, headhunting, and hacking are everyday occurrences that happen to every company. While eliminating these problems might be impossible, you can minimize their occurrence and give the other company a harder time.
Secure Your Information
Secure your data the same way you secure your building — with trained security experts. If your company connects to the web/Internet, you’ll need to secure those connections from hackers, phishers, viruses, and Trojan programs. The usual anti-virus programs won’t get the job done; you’ll need an actual online security company to protect your servers and secure your connections. Maintain routine check-ups on your employees to make sure they’re up-to-date with the latest phishing scams and ensure their passwords are secure. Mark Zuckerberg’s multi-billion company Facebook got hacked — a testament that any company is vulnerable to hacking. Yahoo, eBay, and JP Morgan Chase all faced similar hacks and breaches. Verify every connection through a two-step authentication process or biometrics. Even if hackers somehow get through, you’ll know the source of the leak, and you can react immediately. Web security is especially important if your company (or part of it) maintains an interactive platform like an online store. Your clients’ personal information should be of utmost importance, and a widespread hack could have dire consequences.
Keep your employees happy. If your employees are satisfied. They’re less likely to turn on you or leave for another company. Make sure their work environments are free of stress and encourage your workers to talk to HR if they have suggestions or complaints. While coworking is gaining popularity, the practice is geared towards more independent individuals. Privacy is a big problem in coworking spaces, so unless you’re renting an entire loft, it’s best to keep things within the company. Reward excellent performance and keep office politics at a minimum. Output-based algorithms or programs can help you track your best workers without relying on people’s opinions. If all else fails, an ironclad non-disclosure agreement in their contracts should dissuade employees from revealing company secrets.
Keep projects and tasks compartmentalized and keep information on a need to know basis. Marketing doesn’t need to know what’s happening in Finance, and the same is true the other way around. Discourage office talk about their work and make it clear that leaking company information will not be tolerated. Leave undetectable watermarks on your documents that will enable you to trace your leakers. If you become suspicious of one or several of your employees, hire a security firm to dig through their background, and track suspicious communications. The sooner you catch the culprit, the smaller the damage to your company. Make sure to level charges against any offending personnel to dissuade unwanted behavior and to relay the importance of secrecy.
Corporate espionage isn’t just a Hollywood movie plot. It is continuously happening, and large corporations devote millions of dollars to keep themselves safe. No matter how big or small your company, a fraction of security (or a lot of it) will serve you well.