If your company is anything like the organizations looked at in this recent survey, it may be time to protect your network against the risks posed by unhappy current and former employees.
As shown by the on-going legal saga of Terry Childs, the San Francisco network administrator who was jailed after refusing to turn over critical passwords for the city’s computer system, insiders can do a lot of damage to an organization when they put their minds to it.
In this case, San Francisco said the recovery after the incident cost more than $1 million. The city claimed Childs believed his job was in jeopardy, so he withheld the passwords to make himself indispensable.
Other examples of this type of threat involve former staffers using access privileges that have yet to be shut down to sabotage the company’s network or steal sensitive information.
Many organizations are at risk of similar events, according to a recent report from security vendor Venafi.
According to the survey of 500 IT pros:
- 36% said they would be able to hold their company ransom by refusing to turn over encryption keys
- 31% said if they left the company, they could continue using their privileges to access sensitive information, and
- 43% said they’d be able to cause havoc for their current employer if they left the company.
What can IT managers do to protect against those threats? The first key is to avoid situations in which only one employee knows a critical encryption key or password.
Second, privileges should be revoked immediately after some leaves the company. That goes for staffers in the IT department, as well as the rest of the company — you must communicate with HR so IT knows right away when someone quits or is fired.