written by Mark Veldhoff posted on Nov 27, 2021
Disgruntled Employee Suddenly Quits Grand Rapids Company
People, processes, and technology are the three pillars of cybersecurity. While people remain every Grand Rapids company’s best asset, they can also be a company’s biggest liability. The old adage still rings true with cybersecurity: the chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
Anyone using, managing, or storing your company’s sensitive and confidential data is a potential weakness in your security front. Security technology continues to evolve to counter the ever-growing security threats and sophisticated tactics, but there is one threat that cannot be countered by solely employing new strategies and tools.
The biggest security threats of today do not come from the actions of malicious actors, sophisticated tenacious threats, or viruses. The biggest security threats come from within. While it is true that hacking and cybercrime have significantly increased in recent years, many business leaders are not aware that a disgruntled employee can have a more damaging financial impact on a business, as well as the well-being of the company.
A Disgruntled Grand Rapids Employee Can Be A Cyber Attack Waiting To Happen
It has been difficult to track down any concrete data on the financial cost a disgruntled employee can cause, but many business leaders have experienced financial losses as a direct result of a disgruntled employee wreaking havoc on the business. Some business leaders have even gone as far as to classify the actions of a former employee as an act of sabotage. Whether the actions were human error, intentional sabotage, or hacking, any data and financial loss can have damaging consequences.
Disgruntled employees have access to sensitive and confidential information as well as the motivation to exploit or expose the data. Therefore, companies should implement a systematic, yet cautious approach to addressing disgruntled employees. Businesses pay quite a bit of attention to data safety and security when employees are handling their data, but often make the mistake of overlooking the same when it comes to employees leaving.
Business leaders in Grand Rapids never know when a disgruntled employee may go out of his or her way to deliberately harm the business by stealing, misusing, selling, or destroying data. Even if the employee was one you trusted, there is still a need to ensure your data security will never be compromised at the time of an employee’s off-boarding.
For a company of any size, a data breach or data leak can damage the brand and negatively impact your company’s ability to continue operating. If data security is not taken seriously, the behavior of disgruntled employees can create vulnerabilities that allow external bad actors to find their way to your company’s network and wreak further havoc.
How Can Your Company Make Sense of Malicious Motivations?
Identifying a disgruntled employee’s motives can be a challenge, as the parameters are endless. This is what makes the risk extremely difficult to alleviate. If an employee has never approached you with any concerns, then it can be difficult to know who is unhappy and why they are unhappy. This can also make it difficult to know how or if the employee will act on it.
An apparent reason for an insider attack is to seek vengeance once he or she leaves. If an employee leaves abruptly, he or she may attempt to sabotage your company as part of his/her exit strategy. Similarly, an employee may leave abruptly and carry out an attack if they feel they have been overlooked for a raise or promotion. A disgruntled employee may also compromise your company’s sensitive and valuable assets as part of their attempt to leave your company for one of your competitors.
It does not matter what the specifics may be behind the insider threat, whether it is greed, self-interest, or something else, a disgruntled employee in your workplace is difficult to accept. For employers, it can be disappointing to learn that someone you trusted can turn on you in such a short period. This is especially true when data is involved. Companies everywhere are authorizing employees to use data.
In 2006, Clive Humby coined the phrase, “Data is the new oil.” However, educating employees on why data is the new oil and why it is so critical to the workplace may only push disgruntled employees to attempt to manipulate it. This does not mean that businesses and organizations should keep data far away from employees. However, it does mean that businesses and organizations should consider refining mitigation strategies for the times this does occur.
How Can You Reduce The Potential Threat of a Disgruntled Employee?
The idea is to avoid any reasons that could lead to an employee becoming disgruntled. We understand you do your best to ensure your employees feel respected and that you show appreciation for their hard work. However, if employees remain unsatisfied, it is important to implement strong security measures to save your company’s confidential information from disgruntled employees in every way possible. Here are some steps to help prevent disgruntled employees from attacking your business or breaching your data:
- Make sure your data is backed up regularly
- Eliminate any potentially damaging bad habits from the onset, such as leaving devices unattended or unlocked and sharing passwords
- Make sure that the offboarding procedures for that employee include steps for removing that employee’s access to your network and company accounts
- Make sure that passwords for all systems and accounts the employee had access to are changed
- Terminate all accounts associated with the employee immediately
- Limit access to sensitive data by establishing your sensitive data, as well as who can be granted access permission to the data
- Use complex passwords jointly with a policy to change passwords regularly to eliminate potential security concerns
- Do not use shared user names and passwords
- Ensure employees do not leave the premises with any hardware that may contain sensitive information
Envizion IT Keeps Your Data Secure When An Employee Leaves
We understand that some may argue that taking the above actions may give your employees the impression that you do not trust them, but the above actions are all a part of an essential process during any exit, but especially one that involves a disgruntled employee. When it comes to data safety and security, nothing can be left to chance.
One data leak or data misuse can have damaging consequences, and not just in terms of fines, penalties, or lawsuits, but also your company’s brand image and reputation. There’s more you can do to protect your company from insider threats. In addition to your existing security defenses, your company needs to implement cybersecurity measures like disaster recovery and backup solutions, vulnerability assessments, network monitoring, and more.
Envizion IT is a trusted name in West Michigan and has gained that reputation by providing high-quality IT services and support that small to midsize business owners in West Michigan depend on. Contact us today and let us keep your company’s data safe and secure from internal and external threats.
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