• United States

U.K. employees strike back

Aug 07, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* The perils of not de-provisioning

Novell’s U.K. office has long had a reputation for harboring some of the more “interesting” people among the venerable networking company’s employees. To cite just one example, my Network World colleague, Backspin’s Mark Gibbs, used to work there. He was considered “the serious one.” So it really wasn’t too surprising when Novell U.K. issued a press release titled “The Employees Strike Back!”

At first, I thought this was simply a reaction to the interminable rounds of downsizing that the Cambridge, Mass., company keeps going through. But what Novell U.K. wanted to talk about was the antics ex-employees get up to when their network access and other privileges aren’t deprovisioned when they are.

According to the survey commissioned by Novell, 58% of terminated employees would continue to use company mobile phones at a potential cost to their ex-employer of more than $1.5 million per week.   More than half of those questioned would carry on accessing the corporate IT network, and continue to take advantage of their season ticket, company car, laptop and gym membership if they were able to get away with it.

True stories of “The Perils of Provisioning” have been documented with the help of Business Layers (see They do make fascinating reading, as long as it’s not happening on your network.

Novell U.K.’s Marketing Director, Steve Brown, points out that according to the U.K.’s Department of Trade and Industry, only 27% of U.K. companies have the necessary documented security policies in place to ensure that access to company resources are stopped when an employee leaves. “Many organizations are like leaky buckets and companies need to start plugging the holes in their organizations to ensure that they are water tight when an employee leaves,” according to Brown.

Of course, the survey and Brown’s remarks are all intended to get you to pay attention to Novell’s Nsure Resources product ( and the accompanying services available through Novell’s consulting arm.

I looked at Nsure Resources last fall (“Novell looks to bundling”, and it’s one of the products I think not only every NetWare shop, but every shop that runs, or could run, eDirectory should take a look at.

Provisioning solutions can save you time and money – it’s been proven many times. But de-provisioning, the act of removing access and privileges from departed employees, can save not only money and time but also save the company from catastrophic losses of data, material and proprietary information.

More than half the people surveyed by Novell U.K. said they would take revenge against a former employer if they were unhappy about losing their job. Some of the methods of revenge would be embarrassing – “signing their ex-boss up to an X-rated e-mailing list (10%) and sending nasty e-mails (10%)” – but some would have the potential to ruin a business. If you don’t have an automated de-provisioning service, you need to consider it right away.