Hiring temporary employees and contract workers can be helpful when you need to outsource a business task no one on your permanent staff has the time or abilities to address, but this approach has risks when it comes to data security.
Whether your company takes on extra staff to handle a seasonal rush or works with third parties to ensure supply chain sufficiency, diligence is required when granting access to sensitive or private information. Inappropriate privilege levels can result in compromised data or costly breaches. To reduce the risk associated with granting temporary data access, follow these best practices for third-party identity management.
Use Discernment When Hiring
Just as you would when filling a full-time position, do your research on each temporary employee or contractor and perform an appropriate background check. Spend enough time reviewing portfolios and checking references to get a good idea of each person’s dedication, reliability and skill level. Check credentials to ensure they’re legitimate, and read reviews from previous clients if you’re hiring from an online source. If something doesn’t add up, move on to the next potential candidate. Granting data access to someone you don’t feel you can trust could immediately put your company’s system at risk for compromise.
Understand Potential Insider Threats
The moment you onboard a third-party staff member into your system, he or she becomes an insider and can therefore be responsible for any number of insider threats. Review the information from your routine security audits to determine the weaknesses in your network, and identify the areas of the business most likely to be in danger from hackers should a temporary employee perform unauthorized actions. Extra precautions may necessary when hiring in specific departments or for jobs requiring higher levels of access to prevent insider threats from putting your company’s data at risk.
Use the same procedures to address insider threats from third parties as you do with full-time employees:
- Communicate security information during the onboarding phase
- Clearly explain access protocols
- Hold routine security training
- Monitor the full employee identity lifecycle
Balance Ease of Access with Strong Security
Being too cautious with access management practices can slow productivity and cause frustration for temporary employees and the full-time staff members with whom they’re working. To maintain efficiency without compromising security:
- Determine what information and applications third parties need to access
- Know when access is required and for how long
- Make provision for access from different types of devices
- Limit location access if necessary
Mapping these details gives you a blueprint for a comprehensive access management protocol. Instead of guessing what access contractors or temporary staff members need and doing damage control when bottlenecks or compromises arise, you can follow a set routine for streamlined access and strong security.
Shut and Lock All the “Doors”
Proper onboarding and identity management practices keep data safe during the time a temporary employee works for your company, but what about when they leave? If you want to maintain the highest level of security, it’s essential to manage the entire identity lifecycle.
Thirteen percent of employees are able to access accounts using old credentials, and since even one person with inappropriate access can pose a threat, this number should be cause for alarm. Third parties retaining access to your system once their jobs are over could easily carry out malicious action or open a virtual door for hackers.
Leaving outdated access credentials in place can also:
- Allow third parties to download private data to personal devices
- Increase the risk of access from unauthorized locations or public connections
- Create opportunities for dissatisfied contract workers to “take revenge” on your company
Your company needs a system in place to revoke the access of temporary employees the moment their relationship with your company ends.
Implement a Cloud-Based Identity Management Solution
Managing third-party identities can be a challenge for your HR staff, especially in an age when workers access data and applications from a variety of endpoints. With both full-time and temporary employees to monitor, your HR and IT departments could easily become overwhelmed.
Cloud-based identity and access management software provides tools for granting granular access to all employees and allows for the automation of the onboarding and offboarding process. From a single dashboard, you can view and manage every identity within your system and ensure accounts automatically expire when an employee leaves the company.
Proper management of temporary and contract employee identities within your company’s system reduces the risk of data compromise and keeps your company, your full-time employees and your customers safe from the consequences of a breach. When you put the right security practices in place from day one and continue to follow a set procedure for each third party to whom you grant access, you can have successful relationships with all of your temporary workers.