Sabotage. The very word conjures up scenes of villains sabotaging superheroes, but it is more real and more prevalent in everyday life than we realise. In fact, it could be costing your business big time. When you’re thinking about your security, do you take into account your staff as a potential threat?
What is staff sabotage?
Staff sabotage is when angry, bitter, envious or resentful employees take out their aggressions on their employers. Deliberate acts of sabotage are usually carried out to disrupt operations or to slander the company costing the employer time, money, and sometimes leaving them with an irreparable reputation.
Examples of sabotage include:
- Impeding co-workers careers
- Deliberate non-performance
- Resisting change
- Vandalism and pranks
- Destruction of equipment
- Tampering with consumer products
- Deleting customer databases/confidential data
- Giving confidential data to third parties/competitors
- Stealing stock
- Financial fraud
You may be thinking that your employees wouldn’t do this to you, that you have a great work and team culture at your firm but sometimes that doesn’t make a difference.
Yes, many acts of sabotage are carried out because employees feel overlooked for a promotion and want to level the playing field, but many are also carried out because staff are bored, they are unsatisfied with their job, they have other unresolved grievances or they simply just find it exciting.
Staff sabotage is a real problem
It is difficult to know exactly how often workplace sabotage actually occurs as such acts often fly under the radar, unreported and unpunished. What is known, however, is the sheer number of staff that are already unhappy.
In a study by Gallup into the State of the Global Workplace, research showed that a whopping 87% of workers worldwide and 83% in the U.K. are either not engaged or actively disengaged. That means that only 27% of U.K. workers are driving their organizations forward.
With this number of unsatisfied staff, it won’t take much to ignite feelings of injustice or for them to become disgruntled, whether over something that is real or perceived, so the only way that you can completely protect your business is to prepare for these potential acts of sabotage rather than trying to piece your business back together later.
Sabotage is costing businesses all around the world
Staff sabotage can happen in any company, regardless of size. In fact, it’s a real problem for many big-name organisations such as Forbes, Tesla, and the City of New York just to name a few. To give you an idea of the scope of the issue, here are a few facts and figures:
- Symantec Study (2013) – half of employers who left or lost their jobs that year kept confidential corporate date. 40% of these people planned to use it in their new job.
- The American Society for Industrial Security – their Intellectual Property Loss Special Report looked at computer crimes and found that the biggest security concern for 89% of respondents was retaliation from disgruntled employees.
- CSI/FBI Computer Crime Study – approximately 50% of the respondents acknowledged that computer break-ins results in financial loses. One-third of the respondents reported a financial loss of $123 million. Theft of confidential information and financial fraud were among the most serious losses.
- The National Safe Workplace Institute – calculates that a single episode of serious employee sabotage can cost employers $250,000 or more in lost work time and legal expenses.
- Overall in the United States – the losses from employee fraud and abuse cost more than $400 billion annually, costing organizations 6% of their annual revenue.
Don’t underestimate staff sabotage
Security experts have been warning companies for years that the greatest threat isn’t always an attack from the outside, it’s from the people who are familiar with the systems and workings of your company. So start thinking about staff sabotage when implementing your security measures.
Acts of sabotage can happen when you least expect it and they are something that you cannot afford to ignore.
Need to test your business’s defences?
RGM Security offers a wide range of security services as well as intrusion testing to check your defences and threat awareness training for your staff. If you need training or just advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us!