IT Security Tips for Employee Offboarding

Post by
Net Friends

The "Great Resignation" has recently become a trending headline, however, employee attrition and staff turnover are natural and inevitable occurrences for every organization. As people seek career mobility, many businesses favor focusing time and resources on welcoming new employees. Consequently, this means employee offboarding often receives far less attention, leaving security risks overlooked.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in January 2020, the median number of years an employee stays at their current employer was 4.1 years. In every organization, some employee turnover is bound to occur; the key is to ensure that you offboard properly to secure your business.

While you want to avoid business disruptions and revenue losses, other factors can lead to costly offboarding inefficiencies. Let’s consider the items to prioritize on your company’s employee offboarding checklist.

IT Pro-Tips for Staff Offboarding

1. Maintain Compliance Requirements

Any oversight in your employee exit process can lead to security vulnerabilities or breaches in your business, especially when critical line-of-business credentials or access to personally identifiable information (PII) are involved. We strongly recommend that you do a comprehensive review of what systems your exiting employee had access to within your organization, among your staff, and in regards to every customer and vendor engagement.

Check that there is no unauthorized data access for legal compliance with all data protection regulations. Include this detailed review and an employee offboarding document that outlines the legal and industry compliance requirements the exiting employee should uphold once they leave your company’s employment. Terminate all systems access immediately following their exit.

2. Establish A Media Disposal Policy

A Media Disposal Policy provides a process and instructions for maintaining data security best practices, including chain-of-custody guidelines, data sanitization requirements, and e-waste disposal mandates. Furthermore, this type of policy should also address end-of-life devices and asset lifecycle management.

As your exiting employee leaves the company, a clear chain-of-custody procedure is essential to securing company assets, especially in an age of increased cybersecurity risks. Net Friends is proud to partner with our local friends at Triangle Ecycling and we readily vouch for their fantastic IT disposal services and data destruction program.

Recommended Reading: Creating a Media Disposal Policy Remote Workers

3. Plan for Smooth Task Handoffs

Some staff turnover is planned and others can be abrupt. It's important to be prepared with a plan for all offboarding scenarios, so that you can minimize business disruptions and cybersecurity risks. A well-designed offboarding checklist will unlock a smooth and seamless transition for the team impacted by the change, your business operations as a whole, and the customers/vendors that the exiting employee worked directly with.

Once you've identified the systems used by the exiting employee, it's important to zero in on what processes they also managed within those environments and ensure that all tasks are securely handed over, especially for line-of-business applications.

Does your IT department need to revoke access and provision credentials to another staff member within the department to avoid gaps in asset or resource accessibility?

When an employee leaves, you should not expect them to be available for future support after they have exited your company. You can prevent productivity disruptions with good employee exit processes. Ask departing employees to document their responsibilities and transfer relevant process/resource knowledge and ownerships.

If you do have a longer runway for changeover, such as a two weeks notice or more, adopting human resource best practices such as cross-training, applying standard operating procedures (SOPs) daily, and encouraging advance notices, will ensure smooth employee offboarding and onboarding within your company.

4. Revoke Access for Data Protection

In 2021, it was reported that 1 in 4 employees still had access to employer files of a previous company. Once an employee is terminated or voluntarily leaves your organization, immediately and completely remove their access to your company’s network and resources. While an employee could leave an unpleasant review about your company online, you want to avoid security risks, such as any opportunity for them to misuse confidential data.   

We recommend that you:

  • Retrieve all physical company assets such as keys, access cards, desktops, and mobile phones.
  • Wipe all sensitive business-related data from their personal devices. (We recommend that your staff never use personal devices for company work in the first place. Your Acceptable Use Policy and Remote Work Policy can both address the security risks of BYOD.)
  • Revoke all digital access rights to your employee portal, corporate email, and any database or other business platforms.

5. Customer and Vendor Communications

You should take stock of the customers and vendors that the employee was recently communicating with. Build a list of contacts and send out standardized communication (ideally from someone in leadership) to customers and vendors to alert them in your own words that the person is leaving. This gives you a terrific way to positively frame the departure while also giving the customer or vendor a new point-of-contact and preferred communication options for any future inquiries or to discuss any work that is currently in-flight.

6. Always End on Good Terms

Your employee offboarding procedures should ensure that individuals are leaving on good terms. This process not only preserves your company’s image and reputation, but also builds your talent pool. You should celebrate their achievements and make them feel appreciated. Depending on the length of tenure, you can also organize small farewell functions. Good employee offboarding practices will serve all parties well both now and in the future.

7. Gather Valuable Insights

Even though an employee is leaving, they still have honest feedback that can help you improve future experiences within your organization. Performing an employee exit survey or interview can reveal vital trends in the reasons behind your employee turnover rate and help you capture recommendations for improving technology and productivity tools to better support your employees. 

These insights will help you uncover overlooked issues and take the necessary steps to address them. Taking action in time can halt the flow of people leaving your business. Including a survey or exit interview as a part of your company’s employee offboarding checklist will significantly help future operations.

IT Staffing with Net Friends

Net Friends is your full-service managed IT service provider. We offer a suite of high-quality services and top-tier IT experts for an affordable, fixed, and predictable rate. We also provide IT staffing services, and we would be happy to support your in-house IT department and help fill the talent gap and your hiring/training load. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you manage your human resource requirements while boosting your business growth.

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At Net Friends, we believe in the power of human expertise. While we leverage AI to enhance our content and processes, all blog posts are written and edited by our knowledgeable staff. You can trust you are getting insights directly from our team.

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