Is your company taking the safety of your executives seriously? A survey of the C-Suite at US companies in 2021 found the threat of online or in-person attacks is on the rise. Of those surveyed, they mentioned risks stemming from disgruntled former employees, dissatisfied customers, and political activists. 69% had seen a dramatic threat increase in the previous year and 80% said company leaders were under immense pressure to keep their staff safe.
Currently, it’s very easy for stalkers, criminals, and online trolls to find exposed personal details on the internet. Various third parties buy, sell, and make this information easily accessible for a profit. It only takes a few small pieces of information like a cell phone number, home address, or name of a relative to make a person’s home life miserable with attacks like doxxing, swatting, or other online or in-person harassment.
Protecting the private data of the people who work for you is a lot like keeping your home or business premises safe. Just as you safeguard those properties with security systems, you can protect your executives and employees with good digital hygiene.
If you have a home security system, you know it provides you with several layers of defense against robbery, vandalism, fire, and flood. In the same vein, putting good digital practices in place can protect your executives and employees from harm caused by exposed personally-identifying information (PII).
Security experts often recommend using window coverings, installing frosted glass, and refraining from placing empty boxes for expensive purchases at the curb to stop. These tactics prevent potential thieves from seeing that you have valuable items in your home in the first place.
Likewise, your team, especially high-profile executives, should be trained to limit the personal data they expose voluntarily. That means they should be cautious about what they share on social media channels, blogs, YouTube, and elsewhere on the internet.
When you purchase surveillance cameras, they usually come with yard signs and window stickers. Often, just knowing you have something that could hinder them often prevents criminals from attempting to enter your home.
The same can be said when people get in the habit of protecting their devices and accounts with strong passwords and two-step verification processes. While it’s true they can be hacked, someone looking for easy access to their information is likely to move on without taking action.
If you’ve got motion sensors or alarms set up on your property, they will warn you of potential danger from break-ins, floods, smoke, fire, and CO2. Often, these warnings will come in time to prevent the threat from causing significant damage.
Similarly, it’s good practice to set a Google Alert for your name (or company name). That way, you can keep tabs on any information showing up online about you, ensuring it stays relevant and accurate.
You can also watch for your name to show up on people search sites like Whitepages, PeekYou, or BeenVerified. When you allow contact details to stay on these sites, it’s kind of like leaving keys under mats and in flowerpots where thieves can find them. It’s too easy and definitely not recommended by security personnel.
Many people don’t realize how important it is to remove your name from these sites whenever possible. To prevent people with malicious intent from obtaining your details from these sites, you can contact each one to opt out and ask them to delete your information. Unfortunately, as the number of these sites grows, removing your data can be an arduous process. And it doesn’t stop your details from reappearing a few months later.
You can set up video cameras in your home. You can even enable smartphone access so you can monitor activities when you are available, but DIY security systems only go so far.
When you subscribe to a security monitoring service, they take care of the details for you. They provide all the connected electronics you need to secure every room in your home, monitor activity, respond to alarms, and dispatch the authorities when necessary. In addition, they continue monitoring even if you’re away.
A privacy management platform is comparable to a service like this. When you subscribe to a professional platform, its software will scan and automatically delete PII when it shows up on third-party sites. Some services will go the extra mile and continue scanning periodically to ensure the PII doesn’t resurface.
As an employer, if you don’t take steps to prevent the risk, you could be liable, even if an attack happens off-site. Federal harassment law states, “Employers should strive to create an environment in which employees feel free to raise concerns and are confident that those concerns will be addressed.”
When it comes to your PII (and that of your executives and employees), there are many easy steps you can take to eliminate threats and deter threat actors. While you’ll likely never eliminate risk on the internet, good digital hygiene can help you reduce that risk substantially.
Everyone has the right to safety, inside and outside of the office. While you can rely on your team to protect their own information to a certain extent, your company can also take an active role. When you protect executives and employees by ensuring their exposed data is removed from the internet, you’ll increase morale and help to retain top talent.
PrivacyBrain offers an affordable, comprehensive, and easy-to-use platform that combats the rise of online harassment and physical threats. Our software removes dangerous personal information and reports the progress of the employee data removal in an intuitive dashboard. To see how you can increase the safety of the people in your company, contact us for a demo today.