How to keep your company data secure when employees leave

businessman moving offices packing up all his personal belongings and files into a brown cardboard box

Copyright: 123rf/Andriy Popov/123rf

Keeping sensitive company data and information secure can be a major concern for businesses in a digital age. This is especially true when an employee leaves an organization, including termination. How can you be sure that when an employee is no longer with your company the info that they had access to will remain under lock and key, and not just floating in electronic ether?

In order to mitigate or help avoid the risks of data breach, take these steps in the event of a newly vacant seat in the office.

1. Secure a security policy

One of the things you can do to maintain data security is to create a security policy for the company, or frequently update your current procedures. Within your policy, stipulate what elements of your data and information sharing you’d like to monitor or limit. This may encompass anything from how and what will be posted on your company’s social media (and by whom), to location tracking (for work-issued technology, for example) to email or web browser monitoring for your company.

Another method you could employ would be to issue work-use devices to assist in monitoring your info more carefully, as well as stating that you are able to reclaim said devices should employment with the company cease.

2. Essential credentials

Do your employees have the same login credentials across all of your technological devices? Across all of your sites? If so, this can put your company at risk by making access extremely easy for data breaches and/or sensitive sharing, should an employee leave.

Possible solutions include regularly changing passwords for login information or site access, changing passwords in the event of termination, digitally restricting/denying access after termination and deleting old/unnecessary data. You could also incorporate encryptions in your files and software, particularly if they are shared and accessed by multiple users. If you already use encryptions for your devices, storage methods (USB’s/flash drives, etc.) and more, updating the encryption after an employee leaves is another preemptive step in creating a more digitally-secure workplace.

3. Filling the gaps with data leakage protection software

Data leakage protection software, or DLP, is another effective way to alleviate data concerns when an employee leaves the company. DLP software can be used to control what kind of company data can be streamed and accessed through a worker’s personal/mobile electronics. This helps prevent moving sensitive content such as company files and images from your guarded and secure networks to more easily accessed (and more readily infiltrated) networks or applications. Today, there is a variety of DLP software available for use in your company.

4. Loose-leaf = loose lips

If you have multiple hard copies of company information with a former employee, there’s no guarantee that they won’t be forgotten and left out in the open, or simply thrown away for anyone to find in the trash. Before that employee leaves the company, you can request that these hard copies of projects, work, or info be left with you to file or shred. This way you can be sure that these papers are not being distributed to or held with unauthorized eyes, unwillingly or not.

Have more questions on how to keep your company information secure, or need to have secure documents shredded? Contact us!