Computer security or safety concept. Laptop keyboard with lock aYour employees hold passwords to various accounts, from devices to your business network to cloud services. However, they might also hold the key to a small disaster for your company if you don’t have strict policies and guidelines in place.

That’s what happened recently to the American College of Education, a for-profit college that offers online masters and doctorate classes to teachers across the nation. The organization is currently tied up in a federal court case over a password dispute with a (former) disgruntled employee.

The employee states that he was forced to resign, and that the termination was unjust. The college asserts that the resignation stemmed from a policy change, in which remotely-located IT workers were asked to move to the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Regardless of what actually happened, the former employee now possesses a password to a cloud-based system that is key to the college’s online functioning. The school alleged in their lawsuit that he changed the password and wiped the memory on his company laptop before returning it. The former employee countered with his discrimination claim, and has said the issue could be resolved if the college will rehire him as a consultant – for a fee of $200,000.

That might, or might not, be complicated legal jargon which hides the dissatisfied worker’s true intention: To hold a vital password in exchange for ransom money. Now the case is proceeding through federal court, with the college losing money through legal fees. Not to mention, quite a few online students expressed dissatisfaction with being locked out of their coursework files and email accounts.

The outcome of the case will no doubt interest all of us who operate businesses that are so heavily dependent upon technology. No matter what happens, the lesson here is clear: Business owners need greater control over employee passwords!

In the course of business, your employees do need access to certain accounts, and that means knowledge and possession of passwords.  As the owner of the business, it is imperative that you maintain control over these passwords, so that they can’t be changed without your knowledge.

We have ways of monitoring employee passwords, and ensuring that you maintain ultimate control over them. Give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH, and we will be happy to help you secure all of your vital business operations.