In the last post, I wrote about the warning signs of a problem Chief Information Officer or IT Manager in organizations today.  For a brief review, the signs include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The Chief Information Officer never takes time off.  As we spoke on before, this does leave the individual looking sympathetic; however, the truth may be that remaining on the job at all times allows him or her to control everything and keep the fraud from falling apart.
  • The Chief Information Officer is “the smartest person in the room.” He or she believes this, and everyone else is led to believe this as well.
  • The Chief Information Officer overrides IT security policies.
  • The Chief Information Officer has inappropriate/unlimited access to information throughout the company.
  • The Chief Information Officer has a large ego.
  • The Chief Information Officer has a questionably close “sidekick.”

Although one of these signs alone may not be of much concern, if your key Chief Information Officer possesses several or all of these, a control strategy needs to be implemented to ensure that your company is safe from fraud and unethical behavior.

The following list provides some basic steps (from a prevention standpoint) that will help you and your management team keep your company safe from a problem Chief Information Officer.

1. I could shout this from the rooftops all day long: Do not have your IT Security Manager report to your Chief Information Officer.  This would threaten any secure IT environment.  Your IT Security Manager should report directly to the CEO, the internal security team, or the audit team.  It is critical that a thorough security policy be implemented and that the IT Security Manager has the freedom to operate without overrides from the Chief Information Officer.

2. Use sound third party services to test both the internal network as well as the external network.  There are resources in your market that can perform network vulnerability assessments to ensure that your network is safe from both inside and outside attacks.

3. If you suspect foul play or you have already come to the decision to release your Chief Information Officer, you may want to employ a network assessment team to review your current policies, test your network, and review logs and other key security items. This will help you make sure that you are not surprised by what you are left with when the Chief Information Officer flies the coop.

4. If you suspect a crime (such as malicious damage to your system or theft of data, trade secrets, or other vital company information), it is time to hire a licensed private investigator that possesses forensic capabilities.  In case you decide to proceed with legal action, images of key drives should be taken in order to preserve evidence.  It is vital that you do not turn this task over to your current IT staff that is left behind. Not only do you not know who may be involved in any illegal activities, but the IT staff does not posses the same skills as a licensed computer forensics technician does.

Be proactive if you suspect foul play. Even if your Chief Information Officer is simply moving on, implement a review to ensure that your company does not face a loss or an embarrassing moment later.  Prevention and detection to ensure that your IT network is safe will be worth the money you spend.

If you need either the services described above or other investigative services, please contact me, Ray Gilley, and the McCann Investigations DFW team. We have the skills and the computer force to conduct a thorough, productive investigation.

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