There are many reasons cybercriminals choose to steal someone’s identity. For example, it could be because their target has a lot of social or professional clout and direct access to highly valuable data. In other cases, it may be a crime of opportunity — such as when someone carelessly leaves their virtual door open, and identity thieves can easily take advantage. But, regardless of what prompts criminals to steal, one thing is for sure: it’s a hell of a mess to clean up. And, often, a victim’s employer pays the price too.
At first, protecting employees’ identities outside of work can seem excessive. After all, what happens in their personal lives is their responsibility. But, there are a few reasons it’s in your organization’s best interest to protect their digital identities 24/7:
Round-the-Clock Protection Mitigates Company Risks
Today, employees at nearly every level of organizations have access to tools and software that store a wealth of sensitive data. Unfortunately, employees don’t always recognize their responsibility in protecting this information from falling into the wrong hands — and cybercriminals know it. In fact, some hackers explicitly target individuals as a means to access an employers’ network.
When someone becomes a victim of identity theft outside of work, it can create challenges for their employer. Not only might the burden of resolving the theft threaten their productivity and seep into work hours, but thieves can also use stolen credentials to access your network. This is why cybercriminals often target victims based on where they work, and even their role within the company. (For example, financial and HR professionals are often targeted specifically for their access to sensitive information.)
Employees’ Homes Are Generally Less Secure than Their Workplace
As we learned throughout the pandemic, it’s much harder to protect your company’s network when your workforce is remote. Employees may be logging on through unsecured WiFi connections or leave their work devices out and accessible to unscrupulous roommates and houseguests. Additionally, people may use less-secure personal devices to access company data. And, as the world re-opens, employees will once again be leveraging public WiFi in coffee shops, hotels, and airports — all of which are identity theft hotspots.
Protecting employees’ identities round-the-clock means reducing the risk of their personal or professional information falling into the wrong hands.
Cybercrime Doesn’t Stop at 5 PM
Hackers don’t hang up their mouse and keyboard as soon as you and your team log off in the afternoon. In fact, three-fourths of all ransomware infections occur outside of traditional working hours, according to data shared by IT Portal. And according to the CTO of MedReview, in an article for CNBC, most of the organization’s attacks have happened in early morning hours and weekends.
But we’re probably not telling you something you don’t already know. After all, it’s not like you shut off your company’s firewalls and antivirus at the end of your workday.
Yet, when an employee leaves the security protections your organization offers and transitions to their home life, they’re less protected — and that’s precisely when many cybercriminals are gearing up for action. A lot of damage can happen between the end of one workday and the beginning of another.
Top Talent are Seeking this Perk
The skills gap is growing — especially across fields like tech, healthcare, manufacturing, and finance. According to recent data from McKinsey, 87 percent of companies worldwide are already grappling with a skills gap or expect to have one within the next few years.
It’s never been more important to create an environment where employees want to work. And it’s not just about attracting top talent, but ensuring they’re happy enough to stick around long-term.
One of the best ways to ensure employees stay is by offering meaningful perks and benefits. And one of the most sought-after perks is identity theft protection, according to a report by LegalShield. A whopping 89 percent of employees said having identity theft protection would provide them peace of mind, and 51 percent said their employer should provide one. By adding 24/7 digital identity protection, you will not only help mitigate your own risks and help prevent lost productivity due to identity theft — but you’ll also be giving your workforce a benefit they’ll genuinely appreciate.
Cybercrime is worsening by the day. In fact, identity theft complaints more than doubled between 2019 and 2020, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). And with remote work remaining the norm and more people having access to critical data, we only expect this number to continue to rise. In addition to educating your employees on their risks and cultivating better security habits, it’s essential you’re protecting employees’ identities on and off the clock.