Companies both large and small have a plethora of concerns that must be considered in day-to-day operations. While many of these concerns have always existed, an increasingly new set of worries – centered around the use of electronic equipment and data – exposes businesses to an entirely new set of worries.
Various forms of digital misconduct conducted by employees can cause companies to lose money, reveal trade secrets, experience reputation loss, and more. Once the event in question has occurred, how businesses respond to the situation can still make a substantial difference in the long-term outcome.
For businesses that have experienced such an event – or those who simply want to know how to handle a potential future situation – let’s examine the necessary steps that should be taken.
Enlist Investigative Services
As with any potential crime or instance of wrongdoing, a business that suspects digital misconduct has occurred shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Instead, enlisting the services of an investigative firm or professional is vital in fully understanding what has transpired and how to prevent it from occurring again.
An employee misconduct investigation will naturally focus on what events transpired, what tools or devices were used in the process, whether there are any vulnerabilities that exist in a company’s security and data, and what underlying factors led to the incident in the first place. As such, an employee misconduct investigation is a critical part of the process – but in many cases, it is only the first step.
Address Identified Weak Points
Through a combination of any employee misconduct investigation and forensic analysis of what tools and procedures were used to commit wrongdoing, businesses can begin to respond to the situation. There are a plethora of potential causes for digital misconduct; personal issues, workplace stress, and financial motive are just a few examples.
While completely eliminating the specific reasons why an employee engages in misconduct is difficult, the investigation will also identify the systems and processes used. For example, if a leak or data breach was the aim of the misconduct in question, implementing strategies that minimize these weak points in the future can reduce the amount of harm any digital misconduct may cause.
Handle Reputation Woes
Whether it be due to some form of black-hat whistle-blowing or investigative journalism uncovering the misconduct, a company may be harmed by the event. From media outlets covering the event to social media users eviscerating a company, the word can spread quickly online.
As such, having a rapid response plan for digital misconduct fallout is crucial. This plan should include how to handle social media criticism, who should be responsible for giving interviews to the press, how press releases should be handled, and to what extent apologies and/or responsibility should be assumed. Responding hastily to a damaging form of digital misconduct from an employee will only lead to additional mistakes that compound the negative press and reputation loss aimed at your business.
Digital misconduct can come in many forms, from simple internal employee disagreements to major public scandals. In many cases, digital misconduct can be more harmful to a company’s bottom line and reputation; as such, enlisting investigative services, identifying what processes allowed the event to happen, and having a game plan for the aftermath is crucial in weathering the situation.