A business owner told one of our consultants an interesting story the other day. The owner told his secretary that he needed to know all of the computer passwords for the many spreadsheets that she created and used in the course of the workday.
Instantly, the secretary told the business owner that she would NEVER surrender her passwords, that he had nothing to worry about, she was a faithful and honest employee. Well, in many instances, this encounter could become very ugly very rapidly. This business owner, knowing that he was being held hostage by a recalcitrant employee elected to solve the problem another way.
The business owner directed his information technology staff to "back up" the computer of the recalcitrant secretary each evening without her being aware of what was being done. This action was accomplished, however, the business owner became weary of "what might happen" or "what has happened" that he may not be aware of.
As life happens, the secretary collapsed and died about 9 month later while at home. She was in apparent good health, however, she did expire.
The business owner spent the better part of 8 months trying to recreate many of the spreadsheets that the former secretary had password protected. Special software was used to try and "crack" some of the passwords. In some cases, it worked. In other cases, time and much energy was spent rebuilding the spreadsheets.
The MORAL to the story-- Know all the passwords on all of the computers, especially your financial data. Do not be held hostage by a recalcitrant employee over password control.
The best part of this story is that the business owner did not find any misappropriation of funds in his accounts, however, he wished that he had demanded full access to all accounting and financial spreadsheets several years earlier.
Know your numbers and know your budget. Don't be held hostage by employees.