36% of ex-employees still connected to sensitive data

Over a third of disgruntled former employers across two of the world’s largest markets are being left with open access to confidential data long after departing.

IS Decisions’ latest report showed that 36 per cent of office workers in the UK and US have had access to a former company’s systems or data since leaving and of that number, nine per cent decided to make good on the access and explore the system in question.

“Former employees are probably the greatest insider threat, yet they are the easiest to address; just make changing passwords and deactivating accounts a part of the termination process. Yet businesses are failing to do this, and worse still businesses in the industries you would most expect this to be standard procedure, IT and HR, are failing even more than the rest,” commented François Amigorena, CEO of IS Decisions.

Awareness of being able to access systems after departing a company is more prevalent among younger age groups with 58 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 and 48 per cent between 25 and 34 aware of being able to breach systems. This gradually decreases until reaching just 21 per cent among workers aged 55 or over. It’s mirrored by an average of 13 per cent of the youngest age group admitting to have accessed a company’s system after leaving.

IT, HR and recruitment, and arts and culture, are the sectors most likely to let employees enjoy continued access to systems with 46 per cent letting them do so.

56 per cent of those handling sensitive company data working in legal roles are left with access after leaving and it begs the question as to whether a large-scale breach could take place due to the carelessness of some companies.