Threat: Sam the Disgruntled Employee

The last post looked at programmers. Now let’s consider another active threat:



I’m going to assert that Sam is the second greatest security you face. (We will encounter the greatest thread in a few more posts.) Depending on who you talk to, between 60% and 90% of corporate losses due to theft and fraud and from employees, not external threats.

This may be overstated in some areas; a lot of credit card theft and identify theft is external. See, for example, the theft of over 50M credit cards numbers at Target. Still, much of the real world theft is internal.

Sam is unhappy with your company. He wants to take from it or cause hurt. Sam may be committing fraud, copying internal documents to take to a competitor, posting damaging information on the Internet, or walking out the door in the evening with a bag full of your products or supplies.

You need to both watch for disgruntled employees and to minimize the damage they can do. Good management and good internal controls are your first line of defense. Constant awareness and vigilance are called for.

Above all, watch the people side. In some cases Sam is simply unethical – you need to find him and remove him. In other cases he is angry – this is often a management issue. In many cases he simply sees an opportunity that he can’t resist; solid internal controls will minimize this risk.

In any case, be aware that your greatest threats are usually inside your company, not outside of it!

Next: Threat: Sally the User

About Russell Doty

A technology strategist and product manager at Red Hat, working on the next generation of open source systems.
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2 Responses to Threat: Sam the Disgruntled Employee

  1. Leslie Satenstein says:

    You will of course, have another blog about the disgruntled boss. This employee is more devastating than you think possible

    • Russ Doty says:

      Hmmm, I was going to point out that I’ve already done a post on William the Manager, but this is rather different.

      I like where you are going with this – what are your thoughts on the dangers of a disgruntled manager?

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