Given economic cutbacks due to the worldwide health crisis, we are seeing how employee ranks are thinning across industries. Unfortunately, this has also given rise to frauds and data theft. With numerous organizations rushing to adjust and protect documents and their data during the first few months of 2020, large swathes of employees have had to work remotely. And because there had been little to no preparation in protecting remote data at work, given a never-before-experienced global incident such as this, almost every company has had to cut losses. Even some of the largest companies that tend to work digitally were not fully prepared or experienced a remote working culture, such as the one experienced in early 2020. With numerous companies having to shut down their buildings and enable their many employees to work from home, defenceless and unguarded network systems, documents and data stood at risk of theft.
Companies were then called to function on trust alone to maintain data and document security. To ensure their business systems, data and documents were safeguarded, businesses were made to rely on trusting their remote workers from the worldwide crisis. But this did not stop document leakage or prevent data theft and insider risk.
It is estimated that the global workforce is approximately 3 billion people. At the same time, there are millions of people who work remotely in nonessential businesses across the globe. Given the circumstances and the volume of people involved, that can be a lot of risks to assume just on the basis of mere trust. Based on historical information of spikes and data theft, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners published a warning signal regarding the increase of data theft in the global health crisis and the resulting economic downturn, labelling the situation as the perfect storm.
According to cybersecurity experts, the ensuing recession and global downturn could not only cause more data fraud to take place but also existing data theft to be uncovered. It could be foolish for companies to let down their guard at this time, especially when it comes to compliance, internal controls and audit. Rather, companies must look to reinforce their data and document security efforts with the help of robust and proactive document security solution such as PDF DRM. Having a proven document security solution can be especially important when it comes to employees working remotely and also thwarting the inclination to commit data frauds during errors of economic uncertainties. For instance, even though China was first hit with the global crisis, it had already begun to experience large incidences of data theft. In a recent incident, during a routine internal audit, one employee revealed how they had conspired with third-party associates to inflate sales numbers by forging documents and various contracts incorrectly. Yet another business in China showed a case of data theft involving $300 million.
What are the kinds of frauds that one can expect? As more and more organizations are operating on shaky grounds, and some industries suffering considerably more than the others, an increasing number of data theft cases are likely to take place. It is believed that some organizations, under investor pressure, could be tempted to alter performance information and financial data. This level of data fraud could take place at the executive level, where managers and decision-makers have access to financial information. Unfortunately, financial statement fraud also happens to be the costliest.
A large number of employees across industries are now living in a time of financial insecurity – facing layoffs and loss of income – so data theft impulses are likely to increase. A significant target that cybersecurity experts opine is enterprise resource planning systems that employees across companies can access. With misappropriation of data assets, incidents of invoice mismanagement, payroll and accounting scams and more, data theft is likely to rise. During this situation, third-party frauds could also grow given volatile economic tumbles. Simply put, any individual, regardless of being a privileged user or otherwise that has access to a company’s confidential data or sensitive information, must be considered suspect.
When it comes to internal controls, compliances and audits, organizations must not cut resources or corners. Instead, they must be particularly alert now, view document security solutions as critical, regard compliance and security teams as vital and avoid error-prone controls. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to monitor data access and have clear visibility into data risks. Every organization must go beyond the bare minimum management of insider threats and eliminate it with the help of PDF DRM software to control document access and use. In times when global crises significantly impact revenues, no organization can afford to experience the devastating costs of data theft from an already diminishing bottom line.