Beginning in the 1800s with massive reforms that swept through industries dominated by labor-intensive jobs, workplace reform has had a significant impact on working environments for employees in the United States and abroad. Consideration for health and safety, fair wages, and proper treatment were all among the most important aspects of ensuring a working standard that protected employees from their employers.

Over time, however, the issue no longer became whether or not employers were treating their employees fairly, but rather whether or not employees were putting their fellow co-workers at risk. After Patrick Sherrill turned an Edmond post office into a war zone in August of 1986, the world began to take a long, hard look as to whether warning signs of employee unrest could be identified prior to another incident. Since workplace violence is still a major threat in the 21st century, it has become more important than ever for organizations to enact and maintain strict security standards to keep their employees, and their businesses, safe.

And no, this does not begin and end with security cameras and muscular guards.

When Trust Backfires

An IT administrator with company passwords and security clearances is essentially an armed individual within an organization’s security infrastructure. Sure, the employee may have a proven track record of excellent work and gets along well with his/her co-workers and management, but a catalyst for a malicious incident can arise immediately and without warning. Anything from a lack of coffee in the staff room, to a perceived lack or respect from a superior, can be enough to set off a chemical reaction inside a person’s head.

Employees that work in technology and within a company’s mainframe understand better than anyone how much power they hold. With the “accidental” drop of a spreadsheet onto an external drive or the uploading of malware within a system, a data breach instantly progresses from imminent to having already occurred. The hostage situation essentially began without the company even realizing that hostages were taken. There may have been warning signs that a harmful scheme was being concocted, but since the paper trail was left entirely digitally, there was nobody to discover it until it was too late.

Standing Tall Against Incoming Threats

While daily news reports regarding data leaks may lead one to assume that rogue employees can only be identified once the damage has been done, the reality is far less bleak. User Activity Monitoring aids an organization by compiling all user activity on desktops, servers, and thin clients, creating a visual and textual paper trail for each and every employee. These individual actions are tied to user accounts, enabling the software to create comprehensive behavior profiles and send out alerts when suspicious activity is detected.

There’s a fine line between treating your employees with respect and giving them enough free rein to cripple your organization’s infrastructure. You simply don’t have to sit around defenseless while waiting for an incident to occur, so why would you?