Information Security Benefits for Employees

Preventing Information Theft With Employee Benefits and Education

Information Security
Information Security.

It seems as if every week, another data breach has occurred at a government office, consumer credit card numbers are stolen by online criminals, and various forms of personal identification data are accidentally released to the masses. Information security is growing as a concern for not only companies but also individuals. It is for this reason that many more companies are stepping up to provide low cost, yet effective information security benefits for employees.

But, let’s take a closer look at the world of information and identity theft and why information benefits are critical to the safety and well-being of employees.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), information theft occurs when an individual’s personal information of any kind is obtained without permission and used for making unauthorized purchases, receiving benefits or other financial gain that belongs to another, committing a crime of any kind, stealing customers or business, or assuming a false identity. Information theft also involves the buying, sharing, and selling of others’ information for these purposes. Perpetrators may be local to the victim or international. Victims come from all nationalities, races, genders, socio-economic, and other factors.

What is Personal Information?

Personal information that can be stolen can include:

  • Names (including maiden names, names of children, spouses, etc.)
  • Home and Business Addresses
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Dates of Birth
  • Birth or Death Certificates
  • Drivers’ License or Permit Numbers
  • Passport Information
  • Mail and Checks
  • Medicare and Medicaid Numbers
  • Health Insurance Information
  • Medical History and Information
  • Financial Information and Bank Account Numbers
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Biometric Data (fingerprints, iris scans)
  • Email Addresses and Website Credentials
  • Clients, Vendors, and Business Affiliates
  • And more

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center advised, as of its most recent reports that in 2014, there were 269,422 complaints filed by consumers and companies regarding information and indent theft. Of these claims, there were a total of $800 million in losses, with the average loss per complaint being $2,971. However, these numbers are just a drop in the bucket, as the FBI advised that, “only an estimated 15 percent of the nation's fraud victims report their crimes to law enforcement.”

Protecting Employees With Information Security Benefits

While there isn’t anything that can fully stop internet crime and the theft of millions of Americans’ information each year, there are steps that any employer can take to protect employees and the business from falling prey.

#1 – Education

Employers can do much to prevent information theft by educating employees about the dangers surrounding personal and business information. When employees know how their information can be potentially stolen and used, they are better able to take steps to avoid this problem.

Bring in an information security consultant to provide onsite training or have employees participate in eLearning that addresses this matter. Expose employees to the various ways that information is stolen, such as through email phishing scams and fake telephone calls that probe for information.

#2 – Procedures

Putting a set of procedures in place for protecting information can go a long way toward preventing information from getting into the wrong hands. For example, a procedure for sending information via encrypted email can be a start. Have a set of procedures established for the storage, sharing, and receiving of information. Also, institute a central person who can investigate information breaches and where employees can get help if they think someone has stolen their information. This is especially important for employees who use smart phones and other mobile devices at work and may accidentally lose a device or send a file through an unsecured channel.

#3 – Protection

Give employees access to a low-cost voluntary benefits program for information security, through a number of information security providers on the market. These are programs that enable employees to take control of their information, get alerts of potential threats and changes to credit, and receive ongoing education about keeping personal information safe. Information security benefits can be extended to the spouses and family members of employees to protect the entire family.

When companies help employees with information security benefits, they can be better educated so that they are less likely to become victims to this growing problem.