Why You Need to Include Staff Sabotage in Your Security Strategy

male employee working at a desk to depict whether staff sabotage is part of your security strategy

When it comes to thinking about our security strategy, we always think about what measures we need to put in place to keep criminals out; what barriers or systems will prevent them from gaining entry to our business or hacking our database. A lot of the time, it never crosses our minds to even look at our own employees. While sabotage by employees generally doesn’t happen as often as other crimes, the impact on business can be much, much greater. Here are 4 reasons why you need to include staff sabotage in your security strategy.

1. Staff sabotage prevents business growth

Unhappy, dissatisfied or disgruntled employees can seriously affect the productivity of a company. From taking too many breaks and impeding team progress to sabotaging careers, damaging equipment, stealing stock, and deleting key databases and programmes, if certain acts go unnoticed, they can cause devastating consequences. An example of where employee sabotage seriously affected operations was a case in Tesla. Here, an employee made coding changes to Tesla’s manufacturing operating system and sent company data to third parties without authorisation.

Read: Do You Consider Staff Sabotage When Thinking About Your Security?

2. Staff sabotage can result in severe financial losses

Any type of sabotage causes money whether it’s a drop in productivity, stock going missing or operations being halted due to technical issues. Sometimes, however, it can lead to loss of clients or extensive costs in damages that such a drop in profit could cause a business to go bust. Many businesses tend to have the biggest financial losses when it comes to employees deleting company programmes or data. One of the biggest cases of this was seen in Omega Engineering Corp in 1996, where a newly-fired I.T employee set up a ‘digital bomb’ and it ended up costing the company $10 million in sales and contracts.

3. Staff sabotage can cause irreparable damage to your reputation

It’s so easy to access information today, not to mention that social media is dominating most people’s lives, so when it comes to disgruntled employees wanting to badmouth their business or bring it into disrepute, it has never been so easy. Just a few negative posts online or even just a single video can quickly turn viral and depending on the content, that can have a very serious impact on a business’s reputation. There has been many a case where this has happened from videos being released of employees misbehaving to the blog which led to a high profile investigation into sexual harassment at Uber. Once a brand is damaged, it can be very difficult to recover from.

4. Staff sabotage can result in you losing your competitive edge or market share

Many employees are unhappy with their jobs, so if they are being headhunted by a competitor that interests them, there’s no telling whether they would just leave or if they would become a spy for them, gathering information for their new company’s benefit. This is not as uncommon as you might think. A Symantec study in 2013 showed that 50% of employees who left or lost their jobs that year alone kept confidential corporate data, 40% of which planned to use it in their new job. Some employees have even taken it a step further releasing confidential information into the public domain. As Morrison’s Supermarkets found out, this not only results in negative press and a drop in shares, but it also leads to a lengthy and costly litigation.


Don’t overlook your staff when it comes to security

Many employers don’t believe that their employees would steal or intentionally seek out to ruin their business, but just like all your other security strategies, it’s about putting measures in place just in case it does occur. It’s like insurance, you cover all of your bases now so that you’re not left to pick up the pieces later.

It’s essential to remember that like a theft or cyber hack, staff sabotage is always deliberate and premeditated. The only difference is that your employees know you, they know your business and how everything works.

Who do you think is likely to be more successful?

Employee sitting opposite two women

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!


Need more help or advice with your security? Check out our other useful articles:

Colour graphic of PDF weakness guide checklist from RGM Security Ltd

Fill in your information below and we will email you a guide to checking weaknesses in your organisation