As a small business owner or manager, offboarding employees involves a lot more than simply thanking them for their service and wishing them luck. There are a host of legal and financial implications associated with ending someone’s employment, and overlooking any of these could end up costing your business in the long run. But one aspect of offboarding that is often overlooked is the IT piece of the puzzle. This is an area where many businesses are leaving themselves wide open to risk, and it’s something that requires careful consideration to ensure that your company’s data and systems are protected both during and after the offboarding process.
Offboarding employees is a necessary part of the employment process. Whether it’s due to layoffs, terminations, or resignations, it’s important to remember that there are legal and financial implications that need to be considered. Otherwise, your business could be at risk of potential lawsuits and liabilities down the line. Most importantly, you need to consider the IT side of things as you offboard employees. Here are some things you need to consider limiting your risk.
Protect Your Data
Your company’s confidential data is at risk when an employee leaves. They may have access to important company data, such as client information or intellectual property. Ensure that you revoke their access to such important information and collect any physical data that may be in their possession. This will protect your company from any potential data breaches or theft. You can also track what your employees have accessed once they have left to double check that there has not been any unauthorized activity.
Ensure You Update Your Software Licensing
Many companies use software licenses that are tied to an individual employee’s login. Make sure to update your software licenses when an employee leaves to avoid any issues with compliance and allowing that person having potential access to sensitive data. Otherwise, you could be subject to penalties and fines. On the other side of things, you may end up paying for additional licensing that you are not using.
Retrieve Company-Owned Devices
If an employee has been issued a company-owned computer or mobile phone, make sure to retrieve those devices before they leave. This will ensure that all sensitive company data is securely deleted from those devices. Plus, you can recycle them or assign them to a new employee, which can save your company money in the long run. If employees are using their personal devices and phones for work related tasks, you may wish to request that they delete company information and data on their phones prior to leaving.
Update your Passwords
Make sure to update passwords for all systems that the departing employee had access to so that there is no potential for misuse. It’s important to remember that departing employees may have potentially copied sensitive data or taken critical information with them. Changing the passwords and limiting access can help reduce the risk of data theft or misuse.
Train your Employees
Top up their knowledge with different scenarios where they will realize how to minimize the risk when one of them quits. Proper exit planning and training can help protect your company from the potential risks of offboarding an employee. Train your employees in proper data management, how to store data securely, and the importance of IT management through their career.
Notify Your IT Department/ Provider
When someone gives their notice or you are terminating or laying off someone, it is important to notify your IT department/ provider as soon as possible. To limit the risk, it is important to start the IT offboarding process as soon as possible. If they are working out a notice period, it gives IT the chance to plan the offboarding, so they are ready when the time comes. If it is a termination, generally those are the situations where you want to ensure that you are offboarding as soon as you can to limit any malicious actions.
In summary, offboarding employees is a crucial part of the employment process, and it’s important to remember that there are risks involved. Proper IT offboarding measures, training and awareness can help reduce such risks. By following the above tips, ensuring that you protect your data, update software licenses, retrieve company-owned devices, update passwords, and train your employees, you can reduce your risk of potential data breaches or misuse. It is important to minimize your risk when you deal with employment change like offboarding employees.