Privacy Note

Hi there!

A couple of weeks back, it was recounted on twitter that an employee of a company resigned on behalf of another employee who left her computer unlocked and unattended for some minutes. Cruel right!

Many people have questioned the possibility and logicality of it all. I dare say that the scenario as recounted above is definitely not logical but possible as we have come across a case that is quite similar. All it takes, is for an unauthorised person to have access to your computer in a brief moment of your absence i.e., you leave your computer open to stretch your legs, you take a walk, or you quickly dash out to use the rest room without logging off or locking your computer.

What then are the measures to be put in place to avoid such a messy and unfortunate situation? We have highlighted some measures that employees and companies can implement to prevent situations like this to include:

  • Implementation of the Clear Your Desk Policy – The roll out and implementation of policies such as the Clear Your Desk Policy will contribute a great deal in forestalling or mitigating against such incidents. Clear Your Desk Policy outlines measures that guard against the unauthorised access to documents and systems left unattended to. One of such measures is activating an account lockout procedure such that when there is inactivity on your computer system for a short period of time (3 minutes), the system shall be automatically logged out and such employee will have to re-login with his or her password for such system or account to be reactivated. An employee must also ensure that they log -off from their computer systems when leaving their desk. No matter how short the break is intended to be an employee shall make sure that his computer system is logged out or shut down once such system is not in use.
  • Use of Passwords – The passwords being used must be of a complex nature (password should typically include a combination of alphabets – both upper and lower case, numbers and signs). Passwords must be updated frequently, and employees are also expected to refrain from sharing their passwords with anyone.
  • Installation of Closed-Circuit Television Camera (CCTV Camera) – The company on its own part should install CCTV Cameras within its environs as this will help monitor and regulate the activities of members of Staff. We also recommend that where this is implemented, a CCTV policy as well as a CCTV signage should be put in place.
  • Periodic Training – members of staff should be constantly reminded of their obligations as otherwise contained in the Clear Your Desk Policy and other policies alike. More often than not, it is the case that companies have elaborate policies and the employees of such establishments are unaware of the contents of such policies. A reinforced learning approach may go a long way in constantly reminding employees of the need to log off or power down when such system or computer is left unattended to.

Perhaps the dastardly act of exercising an unauthorised proxy in resigning for and on behalf of another can be curbed after all. We therefore urge readers to take a cue from this piece.

Thank you for taking time out to peruse this piece.

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