A recent survey found that that a common culprit of intellectual property or trade secret theft may be an individual that a company knows quite well: one of its own former employees. The Mountain View, California-based global security software company Symantec said in a recent press release that half of its employees who left their jobs in the past year kept confidential corporate data. Additionally, 40 percent said they planned to use that information in their new jobs. “Companies cannot focus their defenses solely on external attackers and malicious insiders who plan to sell stolen IP for monetary gain,” Symantec’s vice president of engineering and product management Lawrence Bruhmuller said in the release. “The everyday employee, who takes confidential corporate data without a second thought because he doesn’t understand it’s wrong, can be just as damaging to an organization.”
In a company blog post, Symantec stated “employees are the less obvious player” when it comes to IP theft. However, a former employee can be what the security firm referred to as a “frenemy,” meaning that the relationship between the employer and the individual “is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive, fraught with risk.” Symantec offered three recommendations based on its survey results:
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Quick Klein Extra: Symantec found that 62 percent of employees say it is acceptable to transfer work documents to personal computers or devices.
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