In recent weeks, I have been contacted via a couple of individuals who I vaguely knew by name and had spoken to only a handful of times over the last 5 years of being in business.
They gladly explained to me that they had recently moved on to bigger and better things, and would love if I would spare some time to speak to them about how they can help my business with their new position and their new company.
My first thought, is to ask "how the hell did you get my details?!"
I had probably spoken to this person no more than 3 times over the last 5 years, yet he knew my name and had my direct email address.
It's not difficult to guess how. I immediately assume that they have noted down my information whilst at their previous job.
My second thought moved to the company who they recently left and how they allowed my data to be stolen. Why didn't they put in measures to stop this from happening?
Personally, I hate it when third party companies get my information and start spamming me with marketing. So when someone who's hardly spoken to me in 5 years tries to steal the business away from a company who we have spent the last 5 years building up trust with, I feel duty bound to report their actions.
Now if you were an individual that had spoken to me regularly, and developed a great personal relationship with me or my business, I may actually welcome the contact post-career change. It's always great to keep in touch of course.
I could be mistaken and that person had just remembered my name because of what a stand out guy I am…. Or probably because of my dodgy hair cut… but unfortunately this is certainly not true. For someone who I had hardly spoken to in 5 years, they didn't remember my data. They copied their customer database and took it home with them.
I dread to think what they did with the rest of the data.
I would assume that their previous employer had a non-compete clause in their contract to prevent them from contacting customers. Perhaps not.
This type of theft is one very rarely spoken of, but can still be hugely damaging. The IT industry calls this the 'Insider Threat', and can be as simple as the above example or even an accident. Just think how many times you've heard the phrase "let me send an email to myself and then I can work on this later tonight".
But then again how big of a problem is it really? This type of issue probably won't happen in my business… Oh, did I mention a firm recently had an issue with 'insider' data theft?
It wasn't anybody big or important.
Have you heard of a company called Sage? They're only the worlds biggest supplier for Tax and Accountancy software.