Steps to Take Once an Employee Leaves Your Organization

At some point in time, even your most loyal employee will leave your organization. In an ideal world, employees leave organizations on good terms, either due to retirement or other personal reasons. Unfortunately, the ideal is rarely the case, and in most scenarios, people leave organizations unhappy or on bad terms. A disgruntled employee who leaves an employer abruptly may attempt to put your brand in a bad light by leaking confidential information about your company. According to one study, 73% of all data leaked data is customer data, 15% is confidential corporate information, and 4% is intellectual property. As you bid farewell to your employee, it is crucial to ensure they don’t take sensitive company information along with them. This blog focuses on the steps to protect your business from departing employees.

9 Steps to Take Once an Employee Leaves Your Organization

Lock/deactivate accounts After learning an employee is leaving, the first step is to deactivate all their former work accounts, including their email account. Locking or deleting all accounts is essential to prevent unauthorized access. Once notice has been given that an employee is leaving, notify your IT team promptly of the leaving date. Apart from deactivating their work email accounts, lock the file hosting service and delete accounts for team collaboration tools and access to the building. Though this may seem like common sense, most organizations are not prompt in deactivating former employee’s work-related accounts leading to massive risks of crucial data loss. Disable MFA (multi-factor authentication) Disabling the MFA should be among your very first steps after receiving notice an employee is leaving. Integrating MFA on your systems and networks allows you to shut down access to all vulnerable systems with a single action. This is undoubtedly the fastest and most effective step to take during an employee termination process. Change passwords of critical accounts Notably, there are some accounts that can’t be deleted or deactivated because other users within your organization still need access to them. Even when you are leveraging innovative tools to hide passwords, it is still advisable to change passwords to crucial accounts just in case. Even when your former employee left your organization on favorable terms, they might get hacked, meaning cyber criminals could get access to their former logins, thus exposing your organization to cyber security issues. In essence, ensure you change all passwords to any program, system, or application the employee had access to during their time with your company. Retrieve work-issued devices  In the current hybrid work model, there is a high likelihood that you have assigned enterprise assets such as access cards, laptops, cellphones, tablets, and other hardware to your employees. Once you learn an employee is leaving, ensure each of these devices is accounted. A former employee who has still has access to work-issued devices has continued access to your networks, thus posing significant risks. Backup and archive all data Data backup in the context of a leaving employee cannot be stressed enough. You should ensure all the previous projects the employees did for the company are saved and backed up. Remember, in the current hybrid work environment, employees working remotely may have used applications such as Dropbox to store data outside your systems and networks. Archiving and backing up this data is an effective way to prevent theft and sabotage by a disgruntled former employee. Communicate the departure to other staff and clients Communicate the termination to the rest of the organization in a manner that maintains the dignity of the departing employee and the company. Even where the said employee is to blame for their abrupt departure, handling their leave negatively may likely affect the morale of the remaining workforce. Similarly, ensure you forward emails from pending clients’ accounts to inform them of the leave and other changes. The email should also introduce clients to the substituted for a smooth transition. When you keep your other employees and existing clients in the know about an employee’s departure, you minimize customer data leakages and potential fraud risks. Use non-compete and non-disclosure agreements You should ensure all employee contracts have robust non-compete and non-disclosure clauses to protect your organizations from sensitive data leakages. These agreements should be updated and reviewed regularly to ensure they meet the changing needs of organizations while complying with the state and federal laws. When conducting an exit interview with a departing employee, remind them of the non-compete and non-discloser agreements they signed. Sensitize them on the importance of keeping company information confidential and the consequences of authorized access to company information and data leakages. Enforce garden leave Depending on the terms of the employment contract, you may consider granting your leaving employee a garden leave regardless of whether they are leaving on favorable terms or not. Garden leaves are HR agreements that require a departing employee to stay away from work during the departure notice period while still on the company payroll. Garden leaves provide you with the time you need to carry out necessary changes regarding access to your networks and systems. This is crucial in preventing a leaving employee from joining a competitor and risk leaking sensitive information over to them.

Let Initial IT Help You Automate Your Technology Infrastructure

When a disgruntled employee leaves abruptly, businesses have a reason to be concerned about the safety of their critical data, such as financial records, client lists, CRM systems, trade secrets, and more. If you are worried about a departing employee stealing your company information, consider investing in modern automation solutions to lock out leaving employees out of your systems effectively. Investing in cutting-edge tools like those provided by Initial IT can help automate your entire technology infrastructure and enable changes to be made instantly once the employee leaves. Having automation in place means you won’t have to guess the resources the employee had access to manually. Our solutions provide unmatched capabilities to remotely remove an employee’s access or lock them out of your resources. These solutions are designed to disable access to the email system, CRM system, and company files. We can also remotely wipe away any company information from the departing employee’s home computers, mobile phones, and other remote devices. Contact us to find more.