This one took me by surprise. The Register reported that a security audit found that a developer OUTSOURCED his job to China to goof off at work. I certainly never thought of this as something that could happen, but it did, and it should be something that businesses should be concerned about.
This is purely an issue of work ethic, and the business is hardly to blame for the actions of the employee, however, if any damages were to occur because of it, the business may have been held accountable for it. To the business’ credit, it had performed a security audit and was able to detect the act. But how many other businesses do not do the same? What other activities are taking place within your business that you are not aware of and has the potential to bring you heavy losses, both in reputation and finances?
Unethical behaviour in IT departments is of particular concern, as there is real potential of serious damage.
How can we prevent this?
The question remains how can businesses protect themselves from unethical behaviour such as this? I have pondered this for some time as many businesses use the NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement – as a way to keep workers honest, but this still depends on ethics. You can act like “big brother” and monitor your employees’ every move, but that will just decrease morale. A regular and consistent audit may be the best way to capture these events, but this suffers from two disadvantages – it’s a costly recurring expense, and it captures incidents after the fact, when the damage is already done.
There is one thing you can try that I think is the best option.
The best way to approach this, in my opinion, is to try to prevent it from happening at all. We do this by maintaining a proper and open relationship with your employees.
Be approachable to employees and allow them speak openly about their concerns. Sincerely try to address their concerns and be honest about situations – if they can’t trust you, then they will have no qualms about betraying your trust.
Create a culture of ethical habits by setting the example for the employees to follow, such as giving recognition and credit where due, by not engaging in corrupt practices, or by not pushing the envelope of what might be ethical behaviour.
The Best Way?
Will this prevent bad behaviour from ever happening? No, I seriously doubt that. Within everyone there is a bad and good side – yin and yang – and what you need to do is create an environment where it is easier to do good, and be good. Perhaps I’m being optimistic, but I’d rather be a wrong optimist than a right pessimist.