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Former employees increase threat of trade secrets theft

On Behalf of | May 3, 2021 | Business Law Litigation

Many Florida business owners, managers and CEOs whose companies handle sensitive or privileged information rightly fear the damage that would result if an outside hacker broke into their systems. This kind of criminal activity could effectively destroy a company by releasing confidential client information, compromising systems and processes, and exposing trade secrets. However, more and more companies are seeing these kinds of breaches from within as former employees maintain access credentials after they leave a job. 

Cybersecurity experts say that insider systems hacks have tripled in the past five years. The recent economic upheaval that resulted in many job losses left companies exposed to the revenge of disgruntled former employees. For example, one former employee of a district water department hacked into the agency’s system and shut down its purification program, leaving the population at risk of contamination. Another man deleted hundreds of virtual machines from a former employer because he still had access to the company’s cloud storage after his termination. 

How can companies protect themselves? 

The loss of trade secrets, confidential data and client information can be devastating to a company, not to mention the personal implications for clients and other associates. Cybersecurity advocates recommend that companies establish a checklist to follow after the separation of any employee, including strict management of the employee’s credentials and privileges. It is also wise to simplify credentials into one platform, monitor employee access and utilize a two-factor authorization system. 

Studies show that about 10% of former employees continue to access company data after their separation. However, it only takes one determined hacker to create a world of trouble for a company. When trade secrets and other vital information are on the line, companies are wise to utilize every available resource for protecting their systems. 

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