Interns – Gone but not forgotten

Internships are becoming more and more necessary in order for college students to land a job straight out of college. In fact, over 85% of college students complete internships every year. With numbers like these, it’s quite possible that you have a few interns in your office throughout the year. We had five this summer and they were amazing – and not just for getting coffee and making copies. They were integral parts of our business. As such, they had access to several different applications based on their area of focus within the business. However, they also bring with them a new set of risks to address.

While summer seems to be peak intern season, right now you could either be saying goodbye or hello to a brand new set of millennials who can have an adverse impact on your business. Here are three things to consider with your internship program:

Privileged Access

What do your interns need? Creating a role for interns in a role based access control (RBAC) solution will help since they all need access to things like email, intranets, and company communications applications. However, what if they need to go above and beyond those needs?  In order to provision these users with the correct level of access to applications, you need a provisioning solution.

Provisioning solutions are typically part of an identity and access management suite of solutions and will help your users to easily navigate through requesting what applications they need. Based on what they have been pre-approved for, they will be guided through and shown applications that they need and, if there are applications outside of that pre-approval, they can request access which will send a request to their manager for approval.

Using automated provisioning solutions like this will save your new user’s (whether they be interns or employees) time while requesting access. In turn, this will save your manager’s time by only having to approve access that is above and beyond their role. This also cuts down on the “accidental” privileged access that comes from an overload of requests, causing managers to “rubber stamp” everyone in order to get through the requests and get back to work. 

Millennial/Creative Risk

I am not a millennial. However, through my kids, I understand their need to have the newest and best of everything. They are using chat tools and phone apps that I have never heard of and doing things with a cell phone that I never dreamed possible - but it’s now a part of their everyday lives.

While interns are bringing in fresh knowledge and possibly new applications for your company to take advantage of, you need to be aware of the risks they pose. Just like with BYOD risks, opening up your network to new social media sites, content applications or other software can leave it vulnerable to attacks.

In order to make sure that you’re getting the best of both new information and a secure connection, make sure that you instill in your newest team members a culture of security. Through training videos, in-person demonstrations, phishing tests and/or an ongoing culture of security in your organization you’ll make them aware of practices such as not downloading anything without prior approval or checking with IT for your BYOD devices. Not only will your organization profit from building your internal security team but you will be imparting a vital career skill into each of your interns.

The Hard Goodbye – De-Provisioning

While yes, it can be hard to say goodbye to the extra resource you’ve had for the past few months, one of the hardest parts about the termination of an intern is remembering to de-provision them from all of the applications they have been using.  What is the easiest way to make sure your intern’s access is terminated? You guessed it, an IAM solution. The same system that provisions access for your team can also automatically cut off access and call for a re-certification of privileged applications at the end of the intern cycle. This means that anyone using that application would be cut off and would have to request approval from their managers.

Yes, this can be somewhat of a pain for your employees but it’s also a way to ensure that all intern accounts no longer have access to your privileged information. Forgetting to turn off your intern’s accounts can not only allow them to get back in and take information after they have left, but it will also be a target for bad actors to use to get into your network.

Did I scare you away from the possibility of bringing in your fall interns? I hope not. As I said before, interns are great and can be hugely beneficial for your organization. These team members can be an integral part of your organization and should be accepted as such. However, keep in mind that they have their own inherent risks and need to be treated with the same security protocols as any other members of your team. Make sure you are building more than just interns; build strong, security-aware team members that will continue to excel long after they’ve finished their program.  

For more information on how you can better manage interns, and all of the roles in your organization, request a custom demo of our IAM solution, the Core Access Assurance Suite, today.