Staying Safe When Disgruntled Employee Quits Boston Business

Employee turnover is part of the corporate world. Unfortunately, most disgruntled employees who leave an organization take with them sensitive and confidential information, including trade secrets and intellectual property belonging to the company. A study published in Biscom reveals that 87% of employees who leave a job take the data they created with them, with another 28% taking data created by others.

Theft of crucial company data can cause irreparable damage to your company, including leaking confidential information to competitors, corruption of databases, impact on consumer trust, and damage to brand reputation. This blog provides ways for employers in Boston to reduce the risk of employees taking information with them when they leave.

Why Do Employees Take Data with Them?

Most employees who leave their employment can take data with them due to any of the following reasons:

  • Malice intent: Most disgruntled employees take corporate data with them with malicious intentions. If an employee is angry with management because they feel they were terminated unfairly or were passed over for a promotion, they may hold a personal grudge with the employer and seek ways to revenge. Consequently, they may resort to stealing sensitive data from their employer and use it in their new job to gain favor with the new employer. They may also destroy or delete crucial data to “punish” the unfair employer.
  • Inadvertent action: Some of the departing employees also take sensitive data inadvertently. In the current age of Bring Your Own (BYO) devices, mobile apps, cloud storage, and cloud applications, departing employees can leave with massive amounts of corporate data without even realizing they possess crucial assets belonging to their former employer.
  • Justified actions: Some disgruntled employees may take crucial data upon termination because they feel they are justified to do so since they are the ones who created the data. For example, an employee who has put in several hours to create a valuable intellectual property may feel justified taking corporate data with them because they feel the data belongs to them anyway.

6 Tips to Secure Company Assets from Departing Employees

The following are some tips to minimize the risk of departing employee data:

Have Good Non-Compete Agreements

Ensure you have good non-compete agreements and other crucial details in the employment contract to protect your interest. A non-compete agreement legally binds former and current employees from engaging in competitive activities with an employer for some given period once the employment ends. It is a crucial tool that helps you protect your company’s trade secret information in the context of a department employee. In most scenarios, a non-compete agreement deters employees who are tempted to steal corporate data. It also gives you legal backing to pursue an employee who steals or leaks sensitive company data after leaving your company.

Change Passwords

One of the first and easy steps to take after learning an employee is leaving your organization is to change the passwords of all logins they had access to. Additionally, take steps to blacklist or deactivate any of the individual accounts they were leveraging at work.

Changing passwords and deactivating accounts is crucial to prevent unauthorized access.

Monitor Employee Behavior

You should also adopt policies to monitor and audit employee behavior from the moment you receive their resignation notice. Increasing surveillance on a departing employee, especially when using corporate resources such as networks, mobile devices, or computers, can effectively deter and prevent malicious activities. The goal of monitoring and auditing is to gain essential insights on how the employee is accessing data and what they are accessing.

Some of the red flags to watch out for include:

  • Unusual copying of information to the cloud USB drives, personal devices, personal email accounts, personal file sync, and shared accounts
  • Many documents are being deleted from employee devices, including laptops, desktops, corporate file shares
  • A sudden spike or drop in email activity
  • Abnormal timed employee access to company systems, accounts, or physical facilities
  • Email communication between employees and your competitors.

Recover Enterprise Assets

You should also take steps to recover all enterprise assets from ex-employees, including assets such as access cards, laptops, cellphones, tablets, and other hardware. In the current age of remote working, most employers issue their remote teams with company devices that contain massive amounts of corporate data. It is crucial that you recover all these assets and unassigned software licenses from the former employee’s accounts. If, in any case, you can’t recover the devices, seek professional help from an experienced MSP to help wipe out crucial company data from the devices remotely.

Back up Your Data

You should put in place an effective backup policy to guarantee you have a secure archive of your crucial information. Regular data backup leads to peace of mind in the event of data breaches, systems crashes, or disasters. If a disgruntled employee deletes all the crucial company data, you will rest easy knowing you have copies of data to protect your organization against data loss.

Enforce Garden Leave

If your terms of the contract allow it, grant your departing employee a garden leave regardless of whether they are joining a competitor or not. A garden leave allows a departing employee to resign and stay away from work during the notice period while still receiving salary and other benefits. This is crucial to reduce data theft risks from a disgruntled employee planning to join your competitors.

Get help to protect your assets from ex-employees

Data theft by former employees can result in lawsuits, lost revenue, and the failure to comply with regulations. Don’t wait until it is too late to take action. Putting policies in place now to reduce the risk of data breaches from malicious ex-employees can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

If you need help to protect your assets from ex-employees, contact Spade Technology today. Our experts leverage cutting-edge technologies to lockout departing employees from your IT infrastructure and wipe out all corporate data in their personal devices. Contact us today to learn more and request a quote.