Regardless of your industry, your company probably handles a lot of sensitive information. From client data to trade secrets, certain things must stay private. While you may have strict policies in place, employees may not follow them as carefully as you’d like. The Federal Communications Commission notes that digital theft is more common than physical theft in the workplace. When employees leave the company permanently, whether on good or bad terms, you want to make sure customer data is protected.
Security Measures Now Will Pay Off When Employees Leave
Most employees don’t need every detail about a client, customer, or project. Give your employees access to only what they need. Set up limits on your network to who can access what. This cuts down on the possibility of information falling into the wrong hands.
Avoid Using External Hard Drives
External hard drives, especially tiny flash drives, are easy to pocket, whether intentionally or accidentally. A lost flash drive with private information on it will cost you. The rise of cloud technology has cut down on the need for portable drives. Employees working offsite should access what they need using a VPN.
Inform Employees About Security Measures Often
Telling your employees about data protection measures once is never enough. They need to understand why these measures matter. Organize training often on data safety, so employees stay up-to-date on your company’s policies.
Install Monitoring Systems
With access to the internet and email, employees might open all kinds of malicious or insecure sites, whether deliberately or inadvertently. With the rise in remote work, the possibility increases. Consider installing monitoring software on employee work stations, as well as company-issued laptops and phones. This way, you can keep an eye on your employees in or out of the office, and make sure they avoid unnecessary risks.
Measures for When an Employee Leaves
Change Employee Passwords Immediately
When an employee leaves your company, regardless of the circumstances, get all their passwords for work-related accounts. Before they leave the office, immediately change the passwords. This cuts down on someone accessing the accounts once they are no longer a part of the company and spreading private information. Also remove them as users on any shared platforms, or as administrators on any social media platforms.
Check Mobile Devices
Check the departing employee’s mobile devices. If they used their smartphone or tablet for work, they might have private information. Delete any private information and ensure passwords are deleted from autofill settings. Make sure the person turns in any company-owed mobile devices before departing the premises.
Inform Necessary Parties of Employee Departures
People in the office are aware usually when an employee leaves. However, clients and people from other departments may not know. Inform all parties that the employee is no longer a part of the company, so they don’t unwittingly send former employees private information.
Set a Destruction Policy
Depending on the number of paper files the departing employee had access to, you may need to shred files. Shred any information related to what your former employee worked on that may not be relevant anymore. A destruction policy is a good idea no matter what. Destruction policies can help decrease the risk of private information getting out to the public.
Even with strict policies in place, information can still get out. Taking the time to explain to employees why you have the policies and taking extra steps to make sure they understand why you have the policies can go a long way in keeping yourself safe when someone leaves your company.