Employee data management

Most of an organization’s assets are not in a constant state of change. Buildings, products, brands – they’re all likely to be around for years.

Your workforce, on the other hand, is a different matter. Employees constantly join and leave. It’s an expected and healthy part of every organization’s lifecycle. But from a data security perspective, employee offboarding is, shall we say, an imperfect art.

Consider the stakes. Most employees have access to at least some business critical data. Lawyers create contracts, engineers create code, salespeople create customer accounts. When they leave it’s understood (and often contractually required) that the information assets they created for the company (or have access to) don’t leave with them.

But if one of your employees is leaving, they may not be able to easily determine which data they need to disposition before they go. We routinely mix our personal and professional data across accounts and servers, and our devices often synchronize local copies of what may be highly sensitive information.

human-resources-optimizedAs an IT or HR professional, data security is your responsibility – and that includes doing everything you can to help departing employees meet their responsibilities for a clean break. According to research completed by Concentric, an average employee manages close to 1,500 files – many containing sensitive or business-critical information. Realistically, we can’t expect departing employees to do a thorough search to find every file that contains customer information, code, or contractual agreements.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply give them a list of specific files they shouldn’t take with them?

Easier said than done. If finding sensitive files is a tough ask for the departing employee, it’s an even tougher job for someone who’s not familiar with the material. If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that careful reviews of the data taken by departing employees are almost never done.

There’s good news though. This is an ideal challenge for emerging artificial intelligence solutions that can automatically classify large amounts of unstructured data. Once classified, identifying files with sensitive information becomes almost trivial. It’s then feasible to give departing employees a list of specific files they need to leave behind when they go – even files they may have forgotten they have.

Here’s how it works. Concentric’s Semantic Intelligence solution uses sophisticated deep learning techniques to classify documents into over 100 business-relevant categories. The process is far more powerful than traditional pattern-matching automation (which looks for, as an example, files containing digits that match a pattern for social security numbers or addresses). Concentric does more than just tell you what a document contains. We tell you what a document means.

As an IT capability, data classification has many other uses besides just supporting your departing employees. One Concentric customer, for example, also uses Semantic Intelligence to filter sensitive documents – like M&A plans or HR information – from internal web search results. Because the classification process is continuous and automatic, even mis-marked or overshared documents can be kept from view. And there’s more.

Interested? We’d love to give you a demo. Or check out this piece on data governance or this one on data classification and risk management. Questions? Let us know! [email protected]

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