Almost half of people (49 per cent) that had left a company (or have been fired) retained access to their former company's network, and some even use it, according to a new study.
The study, commissioned by Protected Networks, is based on a poll of 100 IT decision makers across the UK, working in companies with 1,000 employees, or more.
Three quarters of that 49 per cent have accessed their former company's network, and some have been doing it on multiple occasions, for over a year. More than half of businesses (57 per cent) didn't remove the access even after finding out about it.
Protected Networks concludes this shows a very 'relaxed' attitude of businesses towards former employees.
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of these employees have a 'user' status, while 22 per cent have the 'admin' status, meaning they could modify and control the network.
“The findings reveal an astonishingly liberal attitude of UK businesses to managing access to data on the corporate network, particularly if we bear in mind that this may potentially include granting access to valuable data like intellectual property, credit card data or sensitive private data about employees or clients,” said Keith Maskell, Country Manager at Protected Networks.
“Perhaps in some cases companies do not consider that their ex-employees are a threat, or administration staff are too overloaded to make systems changes on time, but in fact this common failure to remove data access rights creates a serious security vulnerability that can be exploited later by hackers, if not by the ex-employees themselves”.
Eighty-three per cent agreed network access rights should be better monitored and managed, and 76 per cent said this issue should have a higher priority.
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