Terminating an employee is never a pleasant task. There are workplace policies to follow. Physical security may be necessary. In addition, in this day and age of virtual offices and cloud computing, your IT department must be your partner. HR might be driving the bus, so to speak, but IT must be in the passenger seat, integrally involved throughout the termination journey. If not, a former employee could potentially be a catalyst for cybersecurity issues.
The company’s executive staff, IT department, HR department, and legal counsel must work together to establish and implement a viable termination plan. According to the balance careers you should follow their termination templates to ensure you are covered all around.
Here are three basic principles:
- IT must be notified in advance or immediately following the employee’s termination.
- Have a strictly enforced policy that clearly states who is to inform whom and when.
- Immediate revocation of access; the terminated employee is “locked out” immediately which in turn preserves any company records formerly accessible by the employee
The best way to address cybersecurity concerns, however, is not at the time of termination but before the separation happens. Company employees must be trained on best practices to adhere to in order to circumvent cybersecurity issues from occurring.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
The biggest threat to your company’s cybersecurity are your employees. In the case of the day-to-day worker, cybersecurity breaches are usually unintentional (i.e. opening an attachment with a virus in an email message). In regard to a recently fired employee, not so unintentional.
First Deal with the Devil You Know
There are 10 issues every company should diligently train their employees on to limit cybersecurity issues:
- Passwords are mandatory, strong and changed often
- Manage email and attachments; no attachments should be opened unless the sender is 100% authenticated
- If an email looks suspicious, do not open it, and put the sender on your blocked list
- Limit removable media to personal cloud storage
- Avoid public and other unsecured wi-fi access points
- Report lost or stolen devices immediately; IT must have the ability to remote-wipe a missing company mobile device and the employee must be instructed to call IT FIRST; before the mobile carrier
- Limit apps and programs; employee must have permission from IT to download a program.
- Back up every night before going home
- Think before you post; have a viable electronic communications policy in place
- Terminating employment equals terminating access, period
Unfortunately you can’t get around terminating employees or cybersecurity breaches. In corporate America it is not an “if” but a “when” issue. If you train your employees how to limit exposures to breaches and have a sound employee termination procedure in place (closely involving your IT department), issues caused by cybersecurity breaches can be minimized and addressed quickly.
Need Help Addressing Terminating Employees?
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