In the digital age, it’s easier than ever for sensitive information to be disclosed. Whether this occurs due to malicious intent or simple human error, it can have a negative impact on your company. When confidential information is accessed and shared without permission, it’s known as a breach of confidentiality.
In some cases, individuals may even feel that their personal information has been compromised and report the incident as a data breach. If you work with sensitive information or are in a role where you need to maintain confidentiality, you should be aware of how to handle a breach of confidentiality at work so that your company can recover quickly from any potential PR fallout. If you have suffered a breach of confidentiality at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
What Constitutes a Breach of Confidentiality?
Any time-sensitive information disclosed without permission is considered a breach of confidentiality. This may happen due to a malicious actor hacking your computer systems or due to a simple mistake. For example, if an HR employee sends an employee’s W-2 to his spouse due to a simple mistake, this could constitute a breach of confidentiality. Confidential information can include any information that an individual is not allowed to access. This may include employee salary information, customer data, product cost details, or financial documents. You may also hear the term “inside information” used to refer to this type of information.
Steps to Take When Your Company Suffers a Breach of Confidentiality
– Assess What Needs to Be Done – If the incident is still in the process of happening, you’ll want to first determine what needs to be done. If it’s necessary, you may want to shut down certain systems to prevent further access. If it’s already happened, you’ll want to assess how much damage has been done, who may have been affected, and what needs to be done next.
– Contain the Problem – Once you’ve assessed the situation, you’ll want to contain the problem. This may include taking the system down or isolating the affected data. You may also want to contact law enforcement to report the incident.
– Identify and Notify Those Affected – Once you’ve contained the problem, you’ll want to identify everyone who has been affected and notify them. You may also want to keep a log of who has been notified. You’ll also want to keep track of your efforts to resolve the incident in case you need to report it to any regulatory agencies.
– Figure Out What Went Wrong – You’ll also want to figure out what went wrong so that you can fix it. For example, you may want to investigate to determine the cause of the breach. You may also want to hire a team to do a thorough investigation.
– Create a Plan to Resolve the Issue – Once you have a better idea of what happened, you’ll want to create a plan for how to resolve the issue. This may include offering customers free credit monitoring or identity theft protection.
Tips for Avoiding Future Breaches of Confidentiality
Keep in mind that the best way to avoid a breach of confidentiality is to prevent one from occurring in the first place. That said, you can take certain steps to minimise the risk of having one occur.
– Limit Employee Access to Sensitive Information – The best way to avoid a breach of confidentiality is to avoid having employees access sensitive information in the first place. That said, this is easier said than done. You may want to consider limiting the hours of the day when employees can access certain systems. You could also consider limiting which employees can access certain systems altogether. You may also want to consider implementing a two-person rule for highly sensitive information.
– Invest in Strong Security Measures – Strong security measures are key to minimising the risk of a breach of confidentiality. This includes investing in antivirus software and keeping it up to date. You may also want to consider investing in systems that will monitor your network for unusual activity. You may also want to consider investing in two-factor authentication to further protect your systems.
– Practice Good Password Habits – Password management is crucial to protecting your systems from malicious actors. You may want to consider using a password manager to help manage your passwords. You may also want to consider disabling the “remember password” feature on your computer.