Creating a Cybersecurity Protocol for Employee Turnover

Posted by Mark Jennings - October 25, 2018 - IT Security

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When an employee leaves or is let go from your company, your first priority may be hiring their replacement or delegating their day-to-day workload. But protecting your company should be at the very top of your to-do list when an employee leaves.    

It’s essential that companies adopt a series of protocols to ensure best business security practices. Most employees have varying levels of networked access to relevant company documentation. Being able to control these access points during an employee's exit will keep your company protected from any form of disgruntled retaliation or loss of competitive information.

Here are five critical aspects of an effective cybersecurity protocol that should be followed when addressing employee turnover.

1. Retrieve all company-owned devices

If your company provides employees with a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any other mobile device, be sure to collect these items before a final check is issued.

Not only are these devices valuable on their own, but most of them are also synced with company email accounts and remote access applications. Once all devices have been inventoried and accounted for, they should be completely reformatted and wiped clean of any other third-party applications.

2. Refresh network mapping

When it comes to managing business networks, most companies are now taking active measures to map their networks and verify approved mobile access points. This is especially common when businesses have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, as it allows IT administrators to better understand who is accessing their system at all times.

Once an employee is no longer with the company, IT administrators should confirm that any devices owned by employees are completely cleared of corporate data (email, documents, applications, etc.) and any access utilities such as VPN clients are removed. Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms can help in the automation of this process.

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 3. Revoke account access permissions

It is best practice to manually revoke access permissions of any individual who is no longer with the company. This should apply to internal and external accounts, including online email access and cloud-based applications.

It is also essential to audit any accounts that use shared access and change the login credentials of these any time an employee leaves the organization.

4. Forward company emails

As many employees forward their work emails to their personal devices for use out of the office, companies should be sure to change the access credentials of email as soon as an employee leaves the organization. This ensures that a previous employee is not able to access any sensitive company information or send emails using company domain names.

While every company may have different policies when it comes to the use of email addresses from inactive employees, many companies find it beneficial to forward company emails to a relevant person in the organization before officially deactivating them. This can be especially useful for sales organizations who need to manage leads and active customers while transitioning ownership of accounts.

 5. Deactivate security access

Companies should have a documented policy when it comes to any physical or digital security access that is granted to an employee once they are hired. When an individual leaves an organization, all necessary steps should be taken to revoke this access before they leave.

Ensure you have collected and deactivated any RFID cards or other security access badges before the employee’s final paycheck is administered. This will help to emphasize the importance of this requirement from staff members along with keeping your security standards well-enforced.

Following an appropriate cybersecurity protocol for when employees leave the company is an essential step to keeping your business safe. Practicing due diligence in these critical areas will not only help to maintain consistency when managing employee turnover, but it will also keep your digital assets protected and the integrity of your systems intact.

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about the author

Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings is SymQuest’s Area Vice President of IT Sales. Jennings works with SymQuest’s sales and service teams to educate customers on current best practices around data protection, disaster recovery, security, and overall technology planning.

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