A recent national survey found that 59 percent of employees who quit or were laid off or terminated in the last 12 months admitted to stealing company data, and 67 percent admitted to using their former employer's confidential data to find a new job.
The survey, sponsored by Symantec included employees working in corporate information technology, finance and accounting, sales, marketing and communication, and HR.
The study found that 53 percent of employees stole data by downloading it to a CD or DVD. Forty-two percent stole data by connecting a thumb drive to a computer, and 38 percent transferred data to a personal e-mail account. Numerous employees also took hard copies of confidential documents. The most commonly stolen types of information were e-mail lists, employee records, and customer information.
About 24 percent of workers surveyed indicated that they still had access to the company's computer network after leaving the company. Of that group, 20 percent still had network access more than a week after their employment ended. Employees taking confidential information offered various excuses, including "everyone else does," "the information may be helpful in the future," and "the company can't trace the information back to me." Eighty-two percent of those employees reported that their employers didn't perform an audit or review of paper or electronic documents before the termination.