Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

3/10/2020
02:00 PM
Bil Harmer​
Bil Harmer​
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail vvv
100%
0%

3 Tips to Stay Secure When You Lose an Employee

Whether they leave for a better job or get fired, and whether they mean to cause problems or do so out of ignorance, ex-workers can pose a threat to your company.

Research indicates that January and February are the most popular job-hunting months, and that one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is for more money. Indeed, with unemployment currently low and the number of overall jobs growing, many workers are currently in a good position to land somewhere else in the next month or two and earn a higher salary. And if they have new jobs, that means they're leaving their old companies — maybe yours.

With the annual job shuffle still hot, it's important to note that nobody wants a bad professional breakup resulting in burned bridges, hurt feelings, and lost — sometimes stolen — property.

By "property" I mean valuable assets such as proprietary data, confidential information, and identity credentials. Unfortunately, that property can be compromised — often unintentionally.

Various studies agree on the following:

  • A large percentage of departing employees — including executives — take their company's intellectual property with them because they created it and think it's theirs.
  • A significant number of enterprises don't have policies or technologies in place to prevent loss of intellectual property (IP).
  • Most IP loss from unintentional inside breaches occurs from employee ignorance or a lack of awareness of company policy and IP law.
  • Over half of small business owners say they have no user access policy for remote workers, according to information security company Shred-it.

At the time of year when so many people are leaving their jobs to start new ones, it's a good time to be reminded how to protect your IP. Here are three tips, followed by a closer look at each:

  1. Have maximum visibility into who has access — and how much — into your network and systems.
  2. Vigilantly enforce that access with identity governance and administration (IGA) policies.
  3. Deprovision access when situations change, especially when employees leave.

Visibility
Long-standing best practices dictate that, as a default, users should be granted the least-entitled privilege relative to their roles and responsibilities. Generally speaking, most enterprises have three specific types of users:

  • Regular users who are provided with access only to the applications and data specific to their jobs.
  • High-end users who can provide additional access to regular users when necessary, but who are limited in the scope of their ability to grant that access.
  • Admins who can both access and provide other users with access to anything that exists in their domain.

Two primary challenges exist, however.

First, longtime employees often change positions without losing access to their former positions, which means a large number of workers have too much access. Enterprises are also known to duplicate those users' access for new users, who then have too much privilege.

Second, access reviews are cumbersome and time-consuming. It's not uncommon for resource-strained managers to automatically authorize access without paying close attention to what an individual user really should have access to.

In both cases, roles-based access control solutions are available to mitigate these issues.

Enforcement
Embracing IGA policies enables enterprises to define, audit, monitor, and enforce compliance with internal, industry, and government regulations. IGA provides automated access visibility, schedules automated access reviews, and helps manage third-party contractors, remote workers, and short-term interns.

On a personal/professional level, education is paramount. Employees should be reminded about enterprise IP policies on a regular basis. It's also a good idea to post policies on message boards, in corporate newsletters, and on intranet portals. Right before employees do leave, remind them again what is OK and not OK to take with them. And make sure to monitor their activities within the network once they give notice. This is one reason that organizations should inspect all traffic in and out of their systems using some form of SSL decryption.

Deprovision Access
Here's the tricky part: Before leaving, the former employee must relinquish access to the company's network and IP. In addition to collecting all physical items, such as computers, access fobs, security badges, and keys, appointed officials need to deprovision all of the applications the employee has been using while also terminating email and network accounts. The same types of automated identity and access management (IAM) and IAG solutions that provision and enforce access can also handle deprovisioning activities.

Another issue not to be overlooked: When employees are terminated involuntarily, they're sometimes allowed to return to their desks unsupervised to clear their belongings while they still have network access. This happens ostensibly to spare them from public shaming. But it should never be allowed, as it poses huge risks to all parties. Respectfully accompany them so they don't do something emotional and potentially damaging.

Look on the bright side: You may be losing a valued employee, but you'll be preserving the integrity of your most valuable assets.

Related Content:

Check out The Edge, Dark Reading's new section for features, threat data, and in-depth perspectives. Today's featured story: "Keys to Hiring Cybersecurity Pros When Certification Can't Help."

Bil Harmer is the CISO and chief evangelist of SecureAuth. He brings more than 30 years of experience in leading security initiatives for startups, government, and established financial institutions. He's CISSP, CISM, and CIPP certified — and is recognized for ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7822
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
DaviewIndy has a Heap-based overflow vulnerability, triggered when the user opens a malformed image file that is mishandled by Daview.exe. Attackers could exploit this and arbitrary code execution.
CVE-2020-7823
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
DaviewIndy has a Memory corruption vulnerability, triggered when the user opens a malformed image file that is mishandled by Daview.exe. Attackers could exploit this and arbitrary code execution.
CVE-2020-6012
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware before version 1.0.713 copies files for the report from a directory with low privileges. A sophisticated timed attacker can replace those files with malicious or linked content, such as exploiting CVE-2020-0896 on unpatched systems.
CVE-2019-20001
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
An issue was discovered in RICOH Streamline NX Client Tool and RICOH Streamline NX PC Client that allows attackers to escalate local privileges.
CVE-2020-15467
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-04
The administrative interface of Cohesive Networks vns3:vpn appliances before version 4.11.1 is vulnerable to authenticated remote code execution leading to server compromise.