John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Sorry, Confidential Corporate Data Are Not Part of Your Severance

milton_looksHere’s a data point to consider amid the tech sector’s continuing job cuts. According to a new study by Cyber-Ark, many employees leaving their jobs aren’t above adding a little something to their separation packages: Confidential corporate data.

Of the 600 financial sector workers surveyed on Wall Street and London’s Canary Wharf who lost or left a job last year, 41 percent admitted to taking confidential company data with them. Exactly half, 50 percent, said they would steal company information if they were fired tomorrow, and 39 percent said they would download it if they felt their job was at risk.

Nearly a third, 28 percent, would use the information to negotiate their next position. The most commonly stolen data: Customer contact lists that could be leveraged at a new job.

Cyber-Ark’s study isn’t the first to uncover such employee sentiments. A similar effort by the Ponemon Institute earlier this year found that close to 60 percent of people who left or lost their jobs in 2008 took company data with them. “I’m not sure that malicious intent and future employment are mutually exclusive,” Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, told eWeek at the time.

“Clearly the responses show that obtaining future employment was a significant motivating factor,” Ponemon added, “but when we see a high percentage of individuals who took information knowing full well they were acting in violation of company policy, that hints strongly at the presence of malice.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work