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Snowflake’s latest breach: An offboarding fail?

Jesse Levin

June 10, 2024

2 minute read

Image showing Snowflake logo with a warning symbol over it.

IT professionals know too well about the delicate dance of access control, especially during onboarding and offboarding. Snowflake’s recent security incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences when that dance takes a misstep.

It has been reported that Snowflake, the cloud data platform, recently experienced a security incident that may be one of the “largest data breaches ever”. While more details have yet to come out, Snowflake did find that a former employee’s personal credentials were leveraged to gain access.

Major companies that have been allegedly affected include:

With IT teams already stretched thin, this incident underscores a critical vulnerability: our continued reliance on manual offboarding processes.

The offboarding gap: A huge vulnerability

Traditionally, offboarding has been a manual process, relying on checklists and human intervention. 

Think about the chaos during busy periods – overflowing inboxes, access revocations scattered across various systems, and the constant worry of missing a critical step. A single missed checkbox or a forgotten account can leave gaping security holes, just waiting to be exploited.

I’ve heard countless horror stories – a disgruntled employee with lingering access, a contractor left active due to an oversight, a previous executive sending confidential strategies to themself upon their exit, the list goes on. These incidents not only expose sensitive data, but also erode the trust with customers and partners.

How this could have been prevented

Snowflake’s security incident isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, as manual offboarding continues today.

The answer lies in automation. By leveraging purpose-built tools, we can streamline the offboarding process, eliminating the risk of human error. 

Here’s what automation can bring to the table:

  • Efficiency: Streamline workflows, free up IT resources, and ensure timely offboarding
  • Consistency: Eliminate the risk of missed steps and ensure all access is revoked effectively
  • Compliance: Meet regulatory requirements and demonstrate a commitment to data security
  • Reduced risk: Mitigate the potential for insider threats and data breaches

For IT security professionals: The dream becomes reality with a SaaS Management Platform (SMP) that automates access management, removes inactive users, and generates an audit trail – all without the need of human intervention.

Learning from Snowflake: How IT automation can strengthen your security posture

Snowflake’s security incident is just the latest wake-up call, a chance to fortify our defenses and emerge even stronger.  By embracing automation, IT professionals can take control of access management, safeguarding data and building a more secure future.  Let’s move beyond the manual tightrope walk and implement automated offboarding solutions. It’s a win for efficiency and most importantly, security.

Made for lean IT teams like yours, watch our interactive demo or reach out to learn how BetterCloud can help your company prevent security incidents like this now.