USA Today readers may have been surprised to see the story of a fired IT worker that took his revenge on his for-profit online college employer. Allegations were that the IT worker had access to an account that stored email and course material for 2,000 students. After his employment was terminated, he changed a password and locked the account, then filed suit against the college for racial discrimination. You can see a copy of the article and view the original lawsuit here.
Indianapolis-based American College of Education offers online masters and doctorate degrees to teachers all across the country. At one time, the college’s IT employees were also spread out geographically, too—but last year the school made the decision to give them the choice of moving to Indianapolis or resigning and taking a severance package. After several IT workers resigned, according to court records, which ultimately left Triano Williams as the only remaining systems administrator.
Triano himself was fired on April 1st after he refused to relocate to Indianapolis from his home in suburban Chicago. The college alleges in their lawsuit that the password and login information for their Google account was changed by Williams, causing students to be unable to access their email, course work, and other electronic documents. When school officials tried to access the account, it was suspended by Google after too many failed login attempts.
When school officials asked Google for help, because Williams was listed as the sole administrator, Google denied access to anyone else. And when the officials called Williams, he referred them to his attorney.
When officials called Williams, he directed them to his lawyer.
It’s hardly ever a good day when the lawyers must be brought in, and this was no different. “In order to amicably settle this dispute, Mr. Williams requires a clean letter of reference and payment of $200,000,” wrote attorney Calvita J. Frederick to the college’s attorney. It was after this contact that Williams filed suit.
Some might call this digital extortion. For his part, Williams claimed he had saved the new account password to a laptop that he gave back to the school in May of 2016. The school alleges this to be false, and that Williams replaced the hard drive in the laptop.
Ultimately, things worked out for the college in this case—mostly. After filing its own case against Williams, he failed to appear in multiple Indianapolis hearings, and Superior Judge Heather Welch issued a default judgment, ordering Williams pay the college almost $250,000.00 in damages. The account has now been unlocked without “police intervention or suing Google,” says the school’s attorney, and that the school will not collect on the judgment. No doubt the school hopes this will make the original lawsuit go away.
It’s a new world of tech concerns with businesses that depend on cloud storage. Imagine you, your staff, and your customers, clients, or constituents suddenly unable to access your website. What could have been done differently to avoid this situation?
Experts say leaders of an organization must protect their data from outside threats—and from within. One good start? Registering any cloud-based accounts in the name of the institution, not in that of an individual.
“A lot of organizations are using cloud-based services and online services like this,” said Von Welch, director of the Indiana University Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. InformationWeek.com called “malicious insiders” one of the top-ten Cloud Security threats.
Gene Spafford, founder and executive director emeritus of Purdue University’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, said “When everything was done on paper, there were committees and audits and physical protections to make sure documents were protected and managed,” Spafford said. “We’ve got to do the same thing in an E-world.
If you’re want the efficiency, scalability, and redundancy offered by the Cloud, but are worried about security for your organization, 5i Solutions Inc. can help. 5i Solutions offers modern Cloud Based Document Management systems customized to work flawlessly with your current setup and workflows. And with 5i’s Cloud Vault security, no one individual will ever be able to lock you out of your own account.
Your operational continuity and the safety of your data are secured, yet accessible 24/7 from anywhere—but only by those with whom you have given access. Encryption, penetration testing, and access level management ensure compliance with security protocols.
So not only can you access all the data you need, but you never need to worry about not being able to access it.
The 5i Solutions Cloud Vault. The time is now. And 5i Solutions is how.
5i Solutions. One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage. One singular solution.
5i Solutions, Inc.