Mon, August 16th, 2010 - 5:03 am - By Gordon Basichis
In a down economy, some people become more entrepreneurial. Overall, this is a good thing, a time when innovation makes strides, albeit on low or even non-existent budgets. But then there are those who are more enterprising in malicious ways that can cost the employer dearly. These are the employees that steal.
Employee theft has been on the increase since the economic downturn. Certain employees are desperate and to make up for their own mistakes don’t mind stealing from their employers. It is one thing to steal office supplies, costly enough when budgets are tight, but quite another to be stealing sensitive databases. According to Network World, a new study revealed that in a survey of 45 organizations, cyber crime coasts an average of $3.8 million, annually. Those participating in the survey were mid-size and larger businesses in a mixture of industries, with a range of 500 to 105,000 employees. Mind you, this is not the related expense of preventing invasion, but the actual cost of dealing with the attacks.
These cyber crimes including everything from database theft and intellectual property to stealing online bank accounts. In conducting the survey, researchers counted the time spent responding to attacks, the disruption to business operations, revenue loss, and the destruction of property, plant and equipment. Response time to a cyber attack was typically14 days on average. The average cost to an organization of $17,696 per day.
And then there were the inside jobs. Malicious insider attacks took up to 42 days or more to resolve. These were attacks from employees. Rogue insiders. It is here that perhaps background checks would help prevent an employer from hiring the wrong kind of people. For the external attacks, the malware and bots, yes, it is all about IT security and coordinated defense. But for the inside job, it’s the employee himself. There is a need for the employee to be vetted. Not only is it necessary to conduct background checks for criminal records but to also verify education and perhaps run a corporate records search to see if there is any conflict of interest.
Presumably, most employers came to work from another employer. The fact that they worked elsewhere in a similar industry should not raise suspicion. But a reference verification where the employer may learn of the reasons the employee did choose to leave, that may be helpful. The education verification is on one level elementary, merely verified when and where someone graduated college. But suppose the employment candidate lied? Suppose they didn’t graduate or never even went to that school? That would certainly raise a red flag.
Credit reports on employees are very controversial. Some claim that the employment credit report does not reflect whatsoever an employees disposition to steal. But then some of our clients believe otherwise. Either way, the employment credit report is not nearly enough. Sometimes the simple Motor Vehicle Driving Report will tell you more about someone’s behavior pattern, issues with substance abuse, etc. Sometimes that is even more revealing than criminal records.
I have written about employee theft on many earlier occasions. One such article was entitled, Swiss Bankers Upset By Corporate Data Theft. I am sure I will write about this again. On many occasions. Check them out before you hire.