By now, the incredible cost of a cybersecurity incident is well understood. According to a 2018 study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach approaches $4 million, with cascading opportunity and reputational damage that can far exceed this number. Unfortunately, despite the terrible consequences, data loss events are increasing as the treasure trove of customer data that companies store has immense value for those brazen enough to steal it.

In the digital age, data loss events are a “when” not “if” proposition. As evidence, every week seems to present a new eye-catching headline about a devastating data breach that compromises customer data in a profound way.

In 2018, Marriott, the largest hotel chain by market cap, became another company made to endure a catastrophic data loss event. The Marriott hack, which compromised the passport credentials, credit card numbers, social security identifications, and addresses for 500 million users, is the second worst breach in history, following only Yahoo’s 2016 data disaster that impacted three-billion users.

While companies and media pay significant attention to external threats, one of the most potent risks is often lurking in the office cubicle. Shred-It’s 2018 study on data security concluded, “69 per cent of breaches reported by C-Suites and 71 per cent of breaches reported by SBOs are at least in part attributed to employees—whether through human error or accidental loss.”

Moreover, this problem is exacerbated by the state of the modern workforce as remote employees and third-party vendors access company networks and compromise their data’s integrity.

When it comes to data security, CNBC rightfully concludes, “Hackers are no match for human error.”

Data loss events may be horrendously normative, but that doesn’t mean companies can’t take steps to protect their data. As a result, many companies are turning to employee and user activity monitoring software, an established oversight practice that is making a comeback in our perilous digital moment.

When applied to protecting against internal threats, employee monitoring software can be a highly effective tool for protecting customer data. Here’s how:

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