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How much can you trust a former employee?

A few days ago, I got a call from one of our customers. Their receptionist had left the company. Normally, this wouldn’t bring up any alarms, until the customer said one thing: “She left a couple of weeks ago.” That’s when I started asking questions. The reason they had called me was that their intention was to keep the old email intact because a large number of employees in the company sent time-sheets to that email. And they hadn’t been able to check it in a few days. Here’s the other hitch; this employee had all the necessary passwords and access to make changes to this system.
Twenty years ago, when someone left or was terminated (or let go, run off or fired), we asked for their building keys. That was all they had. Much has changed in that time-frame. Now, we have online access to bank accounts, email, sensitive company information, and possibly even remote access to the office. And if you don’t shut that access off fast, a disgruntled employee could take you and your company for everything. Because of this, we’d like to offer a few tips for when an employee leaves.   
  1. Keep a listing of what employees have access to. Each employee will have access to different levels of company information. Some will have payroll access, others will have full banking access, and some will not have access to do anything but invoices or tickets. Knowing what access everyone has will keep them honest when they leave, and prepare you for what you need to train for.
  2. Have a separation plan. Many companies have procedures in place for when any employee leaves. That includes collecting all access devices, company property, phones, computers and the like. It also notifies the proper departments (HR, IT, Payroll) that this employee has departed and to shut off all access. This is important, because you can then coordinate how each department does their job, and when. Obviously, you don’t want IT to shut off access on the day of the notification; you want it done when it’s time for the employee to leave.
  3. Cross-train employees. Not everybody can do everybody else’s job, but you don’t want to have only one payroll employee, because if they leave, you’re going to have a lot of other unhappy employees on your hands. By cross-training your employees, you always have someone available to do the critical job at hand.
  4. Prepare for the disgruntled employee. Some employees retire, and are quite happy when they leave.   Most employees who resign do so because they are either not challenged enough, or simply not happy. The unhappy departing employee can be your worst enemy, especially if they have all the tools available to wreak havoc. Don’t give them the chance. Make changes before they leave the building on their last day. Contact all the necessary departments to coordinate this.
  5.  Contact InfoTECH. We are fully prepared to handle all of the situations that occur when you have an employee leave, either happily or unhappily. We have technicians who can access your systems quickly to lock out employees when necessary, not after you notice a problem.
By following the suggestions, you can help protect yourself from certain harm before it happens. Be proactive whenever possible when it comes to employees and your data!
Scott Greer, A+, Network+, MOUS, SonicWALL CSSA, SonicWALL CSSR, Microsoft Sales Specialist
Technical Consultan