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Intermedia: 89% of Former Employees Can Still Access Corporate Apps

What's a big security threat that most small businesses ignore? The majority of ex-employees retain access to corporate data and other sensitive information, according to the "2014 Intermedia SMB Rogue Access Study." Here are the details.

Dan Kobialka

August 13, 2014

2 Min Read
Intermedia President Michael Gold
Intermedia President Michael Gold

What’s a big security threat that most businesses ignore? The majority of ex-employees retain access to corporate data and other sensitive information, according to a new study by Intermedia and Osterman Research. The 2014 Intermedia Rogue Access Study showed security is still a major problem for many small businesses.

“Most small businesses think ‘IT security’ applies only to big businesses battling foreign hackers,” Intermedia President Michael Gold said in a prepared statement. “This report should shock smaller businesses into realizing that they need to protect their leads databases, financial information and social reputation from human error as well as from malicious activity.”

Other study results included:

  • 89 percent of those surveyed retained access to email, PayPal, Salesforce, SharePoint or other sensitive corporate apps after they left a company.

  • 68 percent admitted to storing work files in personal cloud storage services.

  • 60 percent said they were NOT asked for their cloud logins when they left their companies.

  • 49 percent actually logged into ex-employer accounts after leaving the company.

  • 45 percent retained access to “confidential” or “highly confidential” data.

Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, said he believes many companies need to take steps to regain control over access to their IT apps.

“People want to work at home. They want files available when they’re traveling. But when a company puts this functionality into place in an organic, uncoordinated way, there are real risks they may not have considered,” he said.

How can companies secure their corporate apps?

Rogue access to corporate apps can be problematic, but Intermedia offers the following recommendations to mitigate and prevent this issue:

  • Create and deploy app policies — Companies should implement strict access and user lifecycle management policies, Intermedia said, including a stringent IT offboarding checklist.

  • Use business-grade cloud storage — Intermedia pointed out companies should deploy business-grade cloud storage services to reduce the risk that employees will use personal services.

  • Require SSO portals — Intermedia said companies should provide users with single sign-on (SSO) portals to make it easier for IT to manage and track access.

“The most proactive step an organization can take to stop rogue access is to understand and implement access best practices,” an Intermedia spokesperson told MSPmentor.

An Oracle (ORCL) survey released earlier this month indicated many businesses are concerned about mobile security as well.

Oracle’s survey, titled “The Connected Enterprise: Keeping Pace with Mobile Development,” revealed security is the top mobile-related concern for enterprises.

Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Patch.com. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

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