Increase in disgruntled employees stealing confidential customer data

The number of High Court cases involving employees stealing confidential data has increased by 25pc in a year, according to new figures.

While the number of cases is still relatively small, up from 40 in 2015 to 50 in 2016, says EMW, the commercial law firm, the figure is rising rapidly as data theft becomes easier to carry out.

Employees today have easier access to confidential data remotely via a range of devices such as smartphones and online cloud storage platforms, making them feel more confident about taking confidential data without arousing suspicion, EMW said.

Increasing staff turnover and subsequent resentment among employees is another factor driving the growth of data theft.

Employees may take confidential data such as client databases or key financial information with them when they leave in order to give a competitive advantage to their new employer or a new company they are setting up.

Businesses most at risk are those in the technology or financial services sectors, where staff members can steal proprietary algorithms, as well as those that are heavily reliant on client relationships such as recruitment or estate agents.

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