In Part One of this series, I discussed the potential scenario of partners attempting to take control of your business in an unsavory manner. In Part 2, I will dive into company information being leaked which can have a detrimental impact on your business’s growth and success.
Recently I had a client whose employee stole an internal database and attempted to sell it to competitors offering the highest sum. The client, suspicious due to rumors he heard in the office hallways, hired my business intelligence agency to either uncover that these were merely office whisperings, or that this was indeed happening and how to put a stop to it.
If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are three steps on how to address it.
Scenario 2: There’s been a breach of information
What to do:
Understand the scope: If you uncover confidential information from your company has been compromised – such as an algorithm, upcoming product launch, databases and more – it’s important you first and foremost understand the scope. From that point on, you must reverse engineer the path the leak took to find the source.
Find the leak: My firm had a company who lost a database of experts in the pharma field. So our first mission was to uncover who had access to that database itself and once identified, conduct background checks on this list of individuals to understand if one or more have hidden interests in taking such information. This could be fueled by monetary needs, ill-will towards the company and more. Know that as the business owner, you might already have a strong intuition of who this person or group of people could be. That said, don’t confront them until concrete evidence is in hand as you might set off unnecessary or dangerous alarms.
Take action: You’ve found the source of the breach, and now you have a plethora of options. If the information wasn’t yet sold, you can involve the authorities and secure a lawyer to make sure this employee is persecuted. Or alternatively, you can settle with the employee on your own terms, letting he or she go in the process. If the information was indeed sold, it’s important to know who purchased it and secure a lawyer to address the buyer and prevent them from using it. If you don’t know who the buyer is, consider obtaining a professional third-party who can find out as every day that passes puts your company at risk.
In Part Three of this series, I will highlight how to address potential acquisitions that you have a hunch might be accompanied by hidden surprises.