More unauthorized outsourcing to take place with telecommuting

More unauthorized outsourcing to take place with telecommuting

Summary: Verizon exec who headed investigation uncovering U.S. developer outsourcing his job to China believes more similar cases will pick up as firms turn to telecommuting for greater autonomy and productivity.

A U.S. developer was watching cat videos while outsourcing his job to China. (Source: YouTube)

SINGAPORE--There will be more cases of unauthorized outsourcing with the proliferation of the telecommuting and mobile workforce because of the autonomy given to employees.

That was the view of Andrew Valentine, senior consultant with Verizon's forensics and investigative response team, who headed a case earlier this year where a developer who worked at an unnamed critical infrastructure company, outsourced his job to China and spent much of his day surfing cat videos instead.

His move was uncovered by Verizon when his company thought it was being hacked from China with unauthorized VPN connections on its system, Valentine noted, speaking to ZDNet Asia at a roundtable here Friday.

Valentine observed the incident had taken place because the company had been carrying out mobile workforce and telecommuting initiatives with the best intentions for greater productivity.

"At the moment, there are probably many people who are doing this, just that they have yet to be exposed."
Andrew Valentine,
Senior consultant, Verizon

Since this gives employees greater freedom and autonomy to do whatever they want, they are more likely to secretly outsource their work because there are no policies in place to govern their working style, he explained.

This is why Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer decided to end telecommuting and have employees work in office, to ensure nobody was being "sneaky", he pointed out.

Moving forward, as more organizations leverage telecommuting and BYOD to become more efficient and innovative, Valentine "won't be surprised" if there are more cases of such unauthorized outsourcing of their because there is no one there to keep track.

"At the moment, there are probably many people who are doing this, just that they have yet to be exposed," Valentine said.

Topics: Outsourcing, Security, Verizon

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • Easiest way to prevent that... effective supervision. If the employee didn't do the work, chances are he won't be able to answer questions about it.
    John L. Ries
  • "The 4-Hour Workweek"

    Isn't this type of outsourcing a key tenet of the 2009 book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"?

    This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
    •How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want

    The employee wasn't slacking - he was self-improving!
  • IT = Cost Center

    This is more of Security than supervision. Do we want to be MICROMANAGED, where it can be really annoying? Of course not 'cause no one want more Palm Pilot to look over their shoulders. As professional, we are self-starters and self-managed where we don't really need PMs (or secretary to look over our shoulders); however, if companies are trying to cut cost by reducing important key component such as Sr level network, infrastructure and security engineers, their won't be anyone to prevent IP leaks and all sort of security problems. Security is an on going problems, and it won't go away because it's no commodity. Yeah, outsourcing your IT and the next we know it is that our data is sitting in someone's desk around the world where they can peek in and get whatever they need. Cloud computing anyone??? I suppose short-sights and greed aren't going anywhere soon. Going cloud is inevitable, but is cloud ready for security, stability, and etc...? There are many interpretation of cloud, but many would probably VM and storage. Thus we better watch out what they really sell rather than trusting their sale's pitch.
  • Why Is This Bad, Exactly?

    Was there any problem with the quality of work being done by the outsourcers? Did the company feel it was not getting its money's worth?