by Shawna McAlearney

Firing or Laying Off IT Workers Can Cost You Big, So Watch Out!

Aug 28, 20082 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsRisk Management

Employees who are laid off or fired will likely use their knowledge to steal a company's confidential data. And some of those devious IT administrators would take the company's privileged password list to access sensitive information such as financial reports, accounts and HR records.

When IT employees are dismissed, watch out! A new survey by Cyber-Ark Software, a provider of identity management products, reports that theft of sensitive information by disgruntled former insiders is out of control.

“Businesses—watch out—you need to control the power within your companies. One of your biggest security threats exists behind your firewall. Survey results revealed that 88 percent of exiting employees will use their IT-know-how to take your company data with them, including privileged password lists that give them access to hundreds, even thousands of sensitive data files,” said Adam Bosnian, vice president of products, strategy and sales at Cyber-Ark.

And it’s wise to remember that allowing your former employee to leave with dignity can save you some headaches down the road. See Management: How to Fire People. If you’re the employee, you might want to read 18 Signs You’re About to Get Fired.

The survey of 300 IT security professionals was conducted at Infosecurity 2008.

“If laid off tomorrow, [they] would take valuable and sensitive company information with them. The target information includes the CEO’s passwords, the customer database, R&D plans, financial reports, M&A plans, and most importantly the company’s list of privileged passwords, Cyber-Ark said in a statement. “Only 12 percent revealed that they would plan to leave empty handed.”

The survey also found that a third of IT staff use their privileged rights and administrative passwords to snoop for confidential files, including personal and salary information, e-mails, and merger and acquisition plans.

Still think your important files are secure?