Employee Data Theft

Author: Jon Isenberg 2-minute read

As employers, we usually train then share our company secrets and documentation with our employees. We also inform our employees that regardless of where the Documentation and Intellectual Property is stored – on computers, tablets, smart phones, etc. – this information and data belongs to the company and that it needs to be safeguarded. Despite this, roughly two thirds of all departing employees take company data when they leave. When an employee that quits, gets fired, or otherwise leaves, AND keeps company data, it is called Employee Data Theft and is often the subject of law suits and violations of law.

In their final days, employees can often deliberately or inadvertently retain possession of client lists, trade secrets, and other important information. Some employees are predictably more likely to engage in fraud, embezzlement and other types of misconduct. Disgruntled employees, who may not be happy about their job performance or their last review by management may be likely candidates for employee data theft.

So, what can you do to help detect and deter employee data theft?

First and foremost, educate your staff members when they are first hired that any documentation stored on company computers, tablets, smartphones are proprietary and belong to the company. In addition, any personal devices used in the business must be analyzed first, then cleansed of any company data prior to departure.

Add an addendum to the company Employee Manual notifying all employees and contractors that Employee data theft is a crime.

For proactive employers that do wish to investigate for possible data loss from an employee, here are a few tips:

  1. Immediately upon the employee’s termination, take possession of the departed employees computer equipment (i.e. computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and store it in a safe location. DO NOT give the computer equipment to the IT department for redeployment to another employee. The data needs to be preserved and do not turn the unit on. All equipment should stay powered off.
  2. Contact your internal HR, Legal, & Security teams to arrange to have the drives imaged and analyzed. If your internal departments are not equipped to perform this imaging and analysis process or if you need a qualified expert to testify on your behalf, please reach out to your trusted Security Vendor.

For those business owners that want a specialized method of collecting this data in an expedited fashion, contact your trusted IT Security Vendor to run an electronic collection process.


Founded in 2003, ELIJAH is a multi-award-winning leader in providing expert digital forensic, data security solutions, and managed IT. ELIJAH is owned and managed by former litigation partners and is an efficient boutique digital forensic, cybersecurity and IT solutions provider that makes clients’ lives easier through effective communication and white glove service. For additional information, please visit http://www.elijaht.com or call 866-354-5240.

Elite Networking and Consulting is now part of ELIJAH. ELIJAH looks forward to continuing to deliver managed IT services with the same degree of care and high standards created by Elite. ELIJAH is also pleased to broaden our scope of expertise in providing digital forensic, cybersecurity and IT solutions.

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