Axed AMP staff 'must hand over passwords'

With almost half of AMP's IT workforce getting the axe as part of a company restructure, employees are being asked to give their passwords to their manager so they can't be accused of inappropriate accesses after they have left.

More than 220 IT jobs, including 90 contractors, will be slashed at AMP in a bid to free up $500 million in capital and cut costs by $100 million.

More than 1200 jobs will be axed company-wide, but the bulk of the IT layoffs will hit AMP's Australian financial services division, where 550 redundancies will be made by the end of the year. The company will also eliminate 60 IT positions from AMP Banking, if plans to outsource the division's servicing and technology proceed.

While unable to comment on the redundancies, AMP's information security manager, Stephen Frede, said it was unfortunate a lot of companies had gone through periods of layoffs and it was important to focus on the human resource issues and the people involved.

Frede said it was important to ensure user accounts were terminated promptly as people left and managers had access to the files on which those people were working.

"From an information security perspective, that access should be done in such a way as to preserve the audit trails associated with the files," he said. "Managers should not log in as the employees themselves, even if they have been given the passwords by those employees."

Frede said that following these principles not only protected the company from any possible malicious action on the part of employees being terminated, but it also protected staff by ensuring there would not be any system accesses incorrectly attributed to them.

"Any employee asked for their password by their manager should get a note in writing, signed by the manager, so they can't be accused of any inappropriate accesses later on," he said.

But, of course, a company's best protection against anything malicious was to be up front and honest with employees throughout the process, communicating the rationale for the changes.

"Most people will accept this as part of life - they won't like it, but they won't hold it against the company," Frede said.

AMP's company restructure, announced by new chief executive Andrew Mohl, will cut AMP's Australian workforce by more than 10 per cent.

Mohl said staff numbers in AMP's banking division would fall from 600 to less than 100 by the end of 2003 if plans to outsource went ahead.

Company CIO Warwick Foster, who joined AMP more than two years ago, has also been laid off, along with 160 head office staff.

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