Recession-era Security Threats Find Companies Unprepared


By Ericka Chickowski

As the clouds started gathering over the economy this past fall and winter, I heard the drumbeat grow louder from my security contacts who all gave the same warning: layoffs are going to exacerbate security problems.

As pink-slipped workers start thinking about looking after number one, they're more likely shed their ethics and do things they normally wouldn't. Namely, steal company information.

Now the data's in and there are some stats to back up the security pros' hunches. A new survey conducted by The Ponemon Institute in conjunction with Symantec has found that 59 percent of employees who lost or left a job in 2008 admitted to stealing confidential company information. Most startlingly, 82 percent of respondents reported that their employers didn't perform an audit or review of paper or electronics before they left their jobs and nearly a quarter of respondents had access to their employer's network after they left.

With more layoffs on the horizon in the upcoming months, many CIOs are going to need to be prepared to help protect the business from desperate employees. This means finding a way to efficiently deprovision accounts, prevent unauthorized data dumps, and generally keep tabs on how employees interact with data.

Unfortunately, none of these are easy to do--especially on an accelerated schedule. We're curious: how prepared is your organization? Is this something that is on your radar? Do you think it should be?