In almost every way, technology and computing have never been more integral to the business experience. Companies accumulate and respond to the deluge of data created by the digital age, and employees navigate an online ecosystem to connect with clients, peddle products, and communicate with one another.

To be sure, this transition to a digital-first business experience is packed with improvements and opportunities, but it also opens up companies to vulnerabilities and threats never imaginable. The risk of a data breach is an ever-present fear for all companies as the number of data breaches has, with few exceptions, risen steadily since 2005.

The troubling and incredibly extensive list of high-profile hacks underscores a broader problem that impacts all companies: their data is vulnerable, and companies of all sizes are being tasked with guarding their network and the data housed within it. This is a challenging assignment that can leave some companies unsure of how to respond. However, progressively more stringent regulatory standards – from GDPR to impending California guidelines for consumer privacy protections – necessitate that companies effectively mitigate the risks to their data stockpiles.

Unfortunately, while companies must be diligent to secure their infrastructure against external threats, their data is equally as vulnerable to intentional or malicious misuse by employees or authorized third-parties accessing the company’s network. As studies consistently show, employees and other authorized users are the greatest threat facing organizations  with respect to their data security. Whether they are intentionally exfiltrating data or accidentally sharing sensitive information, the result is the same. It costs companies money, damages their brand reputation, and limits their potential for future growth.

This reality is encouraging companies to change their behavior toward their employees. Notably, employee monitoring, a practice once decried as invasive, intrusive, and inappropriate, is having a renaissance.

The benefits are obvious. Monitoring software can notify IT administrators when potential misuse is happening, allowing them to take immediate action to evaluate the activity and determine its veracity.

In the past, this activity was frequently perceived as spying, a big-brother-like productivity tool that limited employee autonomy and created a less than ideal work environment. Fortunately, technology has evolved and matured, providing an appropriate level of protection against data theft without unnecessarily invading employees’ privacy. For instance, the right DLP / employee monitoring software can be programmed to exclude personal time or personal applications, so non-work related activities and employees’ personal information are not recorded.

Gartner Group recently published a Market Guide for Employee Monitoring Products and Services, offering timely and relevant insight on how security and risk management leaders need to be aware of the increasing concern over employee malfeasance and deploy solutions to discreetly gather evidence.

Although employee monitoring alone can’t eliminate data breaches, it serves an essential role in a holistic approach to data security.

Teramind’s employee monitoring software was built and developed to support this moment in the technology landscape. With an eye on valuing and protecting employee privacy, Teramind offers companies a granular approach to employee monitoring, so that IT administrators only capture and monitor what’s absolutely necessary, without invading their privacy or inappropriately capturing personal information about employees. Leveraging Teramind, it’s possible to prioritize data security without alienating employees, destroying morale, or invading privacy.

Employee monitoring may be back in vogue, but it is not the same as its previous iterations. Companies are not “spying” on their employees to pursue productivity. Instead, employee monitoring software fills a critical security need for companies of all sizes, so that they are best protected against malicious or accidental threats to data security, while respecting data privacy for employees’ personal information.