Are you looking for more time to surf the web during your day? Or maybe you’d like to find a few extra hours for some household chores or to partake in that new hobby? This would all be very easy to do if you didn’t have that pesky job getting in your way. How could you possibly have time to do any of this from your desk in a normal 40-hour workweek? Teleworking provides many employees the opportunity to work from home, but can leave employers vulnerable to integrity violations in the workplace.
One teleworking employee of a U.S. based critical infrastructure company was caught outsourcing his job overseas. For less than a fifth of his six-figure salary, the at-home analyst was able to subcontract his job to a Chinese company, creating plenty of time for his various extracurricular activities. (In)Security recently featured an article on this employee, and the way that he attempted to swindle his unsuspecting employer.
Through log analysis, an outside company was able to track this analyst’s VPN to a company in Shenyang, China. Apparently he had sent the encoded chip through the mail, and the company was able to access his workstation daily, and complete his assignments as if he himself was conducting business as usual. All while Mr. Trustworthy surfed the net for eBay deals and the latest hilarious YouTube cat videos. This would have been a great idea, if it weren’t against company policy, and of course completely unethical.
In industry, especially the security industry, it is of utmost importance to hire people with character to handle sensitive material. Unfortunately, integrity is not a value easily tested in a 30-minute interview or a skill clearly exhibited on a professional resume. Is there a way to ensure those hired are truly of honest character? Unfortunately, this is unlikely. Background checks and security clearances may deter some of the riff-raff from applying for security positions. Unfortunately the process is not foolproof and a few unworthy applicants may find a way to slip through the cracks. It seems that the only safe way to prove trustworthiness in the secure environment is through time.
So what do you think about this employee’s scheme? Is teleworking opening the door for unethical employees to find a way around actually working? Or does it allow for professionals to lead more well-rounded and productive lives both at work and home?
Erika Wonn is a communications analyst and proud veteran in Washington, DC. Follow Erika on Twitter @erikawonn