So often when we think about information security we focus on protecting a company’s content from outside threats. We worry about hackers accessing and exposing confidential or proprietary information – and we should, as that’s a valid concern – but there’s another threat we should also consider: the internal threat.
The threat of noncompliance
While it may sound less serious than the idea of your company’s information being hacked, noncompliance can expose your business to significant risk. A file or document being accessed by someone who is not authorized to see it may seem minor, but can in reality violate SOC 2 regulatory compliance guidelines.
The government strictly regulates how information is handled, stored and destroyed. A business that fails to comply with these regulations may face civil or criminal consequences, depending on the nature of the violation – and those consequences may involve large fines. Civil monetary penalties for HIPAA violations, for example, are levied according to a tiered penalty system that allows a maximum of $50k per violation with an annual maximum of $1.5 million.
Information security and your company’s reputation
Depending on the size of your company and your profit margin, you may feel that the fines and penalties associated with information security are just the cost of doing business. In that case, it’s worth considering what the damage to your company’s reputation may mean for your bottom line. When clients and consumers learn that your company fails to secure information, whether that information is the company’s or their own, they may feel that’s indicative of a larger problem and decide to take their business elsewhere.
And what if current clients learn that their confidential information was somehow mismanaged or exposed? They may sue – requiring large settlements and bringing additional negative attention to your company. And it’s not just your company and employees who are at risk – your partners and clients could suffer as well.
Ultimately, the benefits of expanding your information security focus to encompass internal – as well as external – threats are well worth the effort.
To learn about how GRM can help your company plan for and avoid internal threats to your information security, click here – Information Management.