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How to keep data, information, and technology safe when an employee leaves

When an employee leaves your company, whether by firing or choice, they may take sensitive company information along with them. Unfortunately, there’s the risk that the employee can leak the data and put your business in bad light. 

It is crucial to implement data security strategies that safeguard documents and files containing confidential information, especially in this era of ransomware and the rising number of employee-related cyber breaches.

Risks of high employee turnover on your network security

Businesses are faced with the reality of employees moving to other organizations that may or may not be competitors. According to research conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 3 million Americans resigned from their jobs voluntarily in July 2021.

Another study by BambooHR revealed that about 350 workers only spent less than six months in a company before moving to another organization. Without going into the disadvantages or advantages of these turnover rates, companies must have proper data and information security in place to protect sensitive information.

This is very important because during the time employees have been in your organization, they may have had access to private data to a greater extent depending on their position. 

Ways to improve data security when employees leave

While ex-workers may not have malicious intentions when they take your information, it is important to keep your company information secure. Here are some protocols you can adopt to improve your network security and ensure no information leaves with an employee who was terminated or resigned.

  1. Have Information Rights Management (IRM) system to limit accessibility

If your company experiences high turnover rates of higher-level executives, you need an effective strategy of preventing them from leaving with your proprietary data and business secrets. 

It’s not enough to rely on past policies such as firings due to misconduct or the inability to meet set targets.

The other worry is having surety that only the authorized recipients of executive communications receive a copy of electronic communications such as texts or emails. 

Having IRM and an Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) system in place ensures you retain full control of workers allowed to access company documents and communications.

The IRM system also helps you:

  • With total application control and access of shared or sent documents, including who can edit, copy and paste or print.
  • Prevent employees who may think cutting and pasting can get them around IRM controls and permissions.
  • Control who, when and the IP addresses from which downloaded documents can be used,
  • Track workers who attempt to share or access restricted documents.
  • Revoke document access even after documents have been sent.
  1. Have an Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) system in place

Having an EFSS system in place to replace or augment less-secure email platforms for sharing and sending files can help you keep tabs on your company data.

 EFSS also gives you authentic data services that cover all the personal mobile and corporate devices on any network. The system gives you total control of all files shared, sent, or archived in secure networks. 

  1. Implement a firm Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy

It is also crucial to adopt a mobile device management mindset in your organization – even with bring your own device (BYOD) policies in place. To some extent, BYOD presents chances for business information to be absconded with, especially if the device isn’t in company access control.

If you’re considering implementing a BYOD policy, have MDM in place as well and use multi-factor authentication to prevent ill-intentioned workers from leaving with sensitive corporate data. With MDM, you can wipe company devices and completely deny or restrict access to stolen mobile devices. 

  1. Adopt Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies to restrict sharing access

Most businesses cannot afford to have their valuable information being used or seen beyond its intended use. However, implementing data loss prevention tactics allows IT managers and executives to ensure private data is secure, via the adjustment of access and sharing privileges based on key phrases related to certain NDA files. 

DLP preferences only allow access based on IT executive and department access parameters. DLP also corresponds with company policies, which is helpful in compliance-regulated organizations.

Protect sensitive data through data-centric protection technologies

Ex-employees can take data anywhere they go, and if it’s of value to your business, you must protect it through data-centric protection technologies such as the SonicWALL Security Appliance Firewalls. These firewalls provide data and information security by:

  • Blocking access to data in real-time even when the data is on other networks or computers.
  • Keeping your data secure and under control, if an employee leaves your company.
  • Limiting accessibility and what employees can do with your files.


Maclean Odiesa
Maclean Odiesa
Maclean is a tech freelance writer with 7+ years in content strategy and development. She is also a pillar pages specialist and SEO expert.

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How to keep data, information, and technology safe when an employee leaves