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January 12, 2011

WikiLeaks Implications for the Workplace

Filed under: General HR Buzz3:01 pm

If the recent WikiLeaks release of hundreds of thousands of pages of classified government documents hasn’t gotten you thinking about the security of your confidential materials and trade secrets…well it’s probably a good time to start pondering it now.

You’ll remember that a young Army private has been arrested for stealing U.S. State Department files and memos and giving them to WikiLeaks, a website that publishes sensitive data.  Most observers believe that this has been both embarrassing and damaging to U.S. interests.

There are a couple of lessons arising from this story.   Employees at all levels of your organization may have both access and the ability to misuse your organization’s confidential information.  And, since it’s pretty hard to “unring this bell,” prevention not damage control is the best approach.

If you don’t have an ongoing practice of regular review and updating of policies and procedures surrounding maintenance and access to your confidential materials, think about doing it.

It only takes one unhappy employee to do a lot of damage to your reputation and organization’s success.

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