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Cutting Pay? Think Least Privilege First

Posted February 4, 2011    Peter McCalister

There was a big story in Network World about an IT staffer who sold his own company pirated software, used corporate servers for his own purposes and even downloaded credit card information.

In the comments you see how the story plays out. It’s not an isolated incident created by a psycho criminal IT staffer – it’s the kind of thing that someone convinces themselves is okay after years of wrestling with outsourcing, feeling underpaid and under appreciated and built-up anger towards the company.

The case with Goldman should show how money is a matter of perspective. One of their top-paid developers appear to have stolen code in an effort to sell it to a startup competitor. Paying more won’t make a theft less likely, but – as we saw in the recession – layoffs and cuts can certainly create a risk.

So this is the context in which I view a major story today in the Wall Street Journal, which was also widely reported elsewhere. Goldman is often criticized for overpaying their staff, especially highly paid executives. Now that they’re starting to trim those bonuses, will employees have the perspective to realize they were overpaid in the first place? Or find “alternative means” to secure cash flow or seek vengeance against the company they believe has wronged them.

Before cutting salaries or cutting staff, security needs to be a core component of planning (especially implementing a least privilege environment) for that and I’m sure Goldman did just as much.

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