People are leaving their jobs in historic numbers, but business leaders shouldn’t overlook the significant risk that this phenomenon poses for enterprise cybersecurity while focusing on addressing the labor shortages.
The Great Resignation is a trend that poses serious problems for companies. The widespread exodus of people quitting their jobs has well-known effects, such as reduced productivity due to understaffing and significant expenditures associated with talent acquisition, training, and turnover. Security vulnerabilities caused by employee off boarding are one less well-known but very important impact.
The reality is that when IT processes for off boarding are ineffective at immediately severing access to enterprise systems and data when employees leave, serious cybersecurity vulnerabilities occur. Data privacy breaches, loss of Intellectual Property, increased susceptibility to cyber-attacks, compliance violations, and the resulting fines are some of the risks associated with insecure off boarding methods. Fortunately, a solid cyber asset management strategy can help reduce these risks through better technology, process improvements, and automation.
Off boarding Creates Security Issues
The employee exit interview is an easy part of off boarding from an IT standpoint. Access management and the requirement for timely and comprehensive removal of the departing employee’s access to data and systems present the bigger challenge.
The employee being off boarded could have had access to numerous systems, particularly in the case of administrators or long-time employees. It can be challenging to map all the permissions an employee may have once had due to limited cyber asset visibility, particularly if the exit was uncooperative and abrupt. Furthermore, securing devices can be more complex than merely returning the organization’s physical property because data and access may involve various personal and corporate devices.
Off boarding processes may not be sufficiently cross-disciplinary throughout to enable managers of the business divisions, IT, and HR to work together efficiently for access removal. Unfortunately, as time passes, these execution gaps enable vulnerabilities to increase exponentially. Ex-employees may be tempted to steal sensitive or critical data. Even in cases of amicable employee departures, non-employee access to company systems or data is a data privacy violation, which is punishable by penalties for violating GDPR and other data privacy laws.
Accounts that are left open and can be targeted by hackers to gain access and control present an additional risk. There is a possibility that some administrators or employees may have had sprawling access to several systems. If such an account is left open after an employee leaves, it becomes the Holy Grail for criminals who, depending on the account, may be able to obtain access that may be super-user privileges.
Off boarding that is Scalable, Secure, and Automated
A comprehensive plan for managing cyber assets must be part of the answer to onboarding security. This plan must incorporate technology advancements, process improvement, and automation to succeed.
Success in the process depends on proactive IT team involvement and inter-disciplinary collaboration on the timing and objectives of severing access. Well-planned cyber asset management policies for alerts to stakeholders and systems must be the foundation for these seamless processes. Any SaaS-based systems must also have robust cyber asset management mechanisms in place to facilitate system actions and record these actions for compliance.
Each off boarding situation results in the creation of one or more IT tickets. Therefore, even if IT systems and personnel are efficient, the large volume of off boarding tickets may cause execution backlogs. These backlogs present a risk since they extend the period of time between an employee’s departure and the moment when all access is canceled. Automation is crucial in creating the cyber asset management playbook for off boarding because of this.
Off boarding is being highlighted by The Great Resignation, which also emphasizes the necessity to optimize and secure the process for severing ties between critical enterprise systems and departing employees. In light of these challenges, more businesses realize the necessity of a cross-disciplinary and comprehensive plan strategically based on cyber asset management to ensure secure and effective off boarding.
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