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  • WRITTEN BY Jorge Rojas POSTED ON September 19,2014

In a survey by Cyber-Ark, close to half of employees interviewed admitted that if they were fired tomorrow, they would take with them their former company’s proprietary data. This is a shocking revelation considering how much you trust your current staff, maybe even to the point of referring to them as “family.” What can you do to protect your business from a former employee with ill intentions?

Maybe we shouldn’t be too shocked by the results of this Cyber-Ark survey. The employees questioned were holding down a job and feeling secure about it, and the premise of the question revolves around, “if you were fired tomorrow.” If an employee feeling good about their job today was unexpectedly fired tomorrow, then it would imply an injustice on the part of the employer. Therefore, the wronged employee would feel in the right to steal something on their way out.

The ethics and probability of this hypothetical situation is questionable; however, this survey brings to our attention that data theft by former employees is a very real risk. Data theft is much worse than if a former employee made off with office supplies like pens or staplers. Data theft includes the losing of information like databases, password lists, financial reports, and R&D plans. Losing this kind of data hits a company where it hurts, and if the former employee responsible for the theft is disgruntled, they can use the stolen data for malicious purposes and do some serious damage to your business.

To protect your business from a scenario like this, you must close every access point associated with the former employee. This security measure isn’t something that you can put off. As soon as the grim fate of the employee is decided upon, a standard set of procedures needs to be enacted that will lock the soon-to-be-canned employee out of the network. In terms of damage control, it’s best practice to have the employee locked out of the network before the bad news is given.

You never know what kind of a toll the bad news will have on a seemingly stable and ethical employee. Based on the aforementioned survey, the news may cause a fired employee to snap and feel justified about walking off with your data. The reasons why a former employee would want to steal company data is varied. In a worst-case scenario, they would gain access to your network and mess with everything as a way to get back at you. In a more-likely scenario, the employee would steal company secrets for the purpose of using the data as leverage so they can land a new job with your competition.

Financial gain can also play a part in a data theft scenario. If the former employee was responsible for making company purchases, then upon being fired, they may try to immediately contact the vendors and make purchases using stolen company credit card numbers. This is why it’s important for you to notify the vendors of an employee’s termination and tell them that your point of contact is no longer with the company.

Tektonic can help make this termination process easier for you. You’re on your own when it comes to the hardest part of firing someone (breaking the news), but you can have help with securing your network from a disgruntled employee.

When you have Tektonic remotely manage your company’s network, one of the things we do is manage all your network’s access points. This means that, upon letting the employee go, all you have to do is let us know about the release and we’ll lock them out of the network. This includes access that the employee may have had from their personal device. In addition to locking them out, we can monitor your network and report any abnormal activity, just in case the disgruntled employee attempts to hack into the network.

Not securing your network from former employees is an oversight that makes it easy for them to steal your data. A mistake like this can ruin your company. Protect your company’s data from former employees, hackers, and any other unauthorized users that have it out for you by calling Tektonic at (416) 256-9928.

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