Corporate Data Security: What Happens When Your Employee Leaves

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    Regardless of which industry you work in, employee turnover is real and can be challenging for organizations that do not have a proper offboarding plan. Whether an employee leaves your organization voluntarily or involuntarily, they have access to confidential data stored on their devices that can land your business in serious trouble if exposed. Preparing for an employee’s departure does not only involve finding a suitable replacement, it also means that their access to corporate devices, data and networks needs to be revoked as soon as possible. Businesses that have implemented an MDM solution already have a powerful platform that can help them streamline their employee offboarding protocol and take measures to reinforce their corporate data security. But businesses that have yet not planned a proper exit protocol for their employees face a real threat of corporate data breaches.

    What Is the Impact of Employees Leaving the Organization With Corporate Data?

    Corporate data breaches can damage a business’s revenue and reputation irreversibly, no matter what caused the data breach. Studies show that 45% of employees download, save or share work-related documents before leaving a job or after they have been dismissed.

    Following are the potential threats of allowing your employees to leave the organization with your corporate data:

    1. Loss of intellectual property

    Businesses, no matter how small or big, have tonnes of confidential information such as patents, customer lists, etc. that keep their business running. Employees leaving the organization may intently copy this sensitive data on their personal drives either to hand it to a close competitor or to set up a competing business.

    2. Lawsuits and litigation

    There are several federal laws around the world against corporate data breaches. Customers trust businesses with their valuable information and businesses are expected to protect them at all costs. This data may include protected health information (PHI), trade secrets, acquisition plans, etc. The inability to successfully secure confidential customer details may lead your business to a stream of lawsuits and financial penalties.

    3. Loss of sensitive corporate information

    Data is one of the biggest assets for a company since it allows organizations to track their histories, analyze customers’ behavior, study market trends and plan their business strategies. Employees leaking critical business data on leaving the organization can result in a significant loss of revenue.

    4. Loss of competitive advantage

    Employees at key positions in sales, marketing, tech, etc. are exposed to valuable business data such as product plans, valuable partnerships, etc. The leakage of this confidential information can cause serious competitive damage, leading to reduced customer loyalty, canceled contracts and spilled business secrets.

    5. Defamed brand name

    Once your brand is known to have suffered a corporate data breach, loss of brand reputation is inevitable. Businesses think twice before associating themselves with brands that have a history of data breaches.

    Identifying the Right Approach for the Situation

    To determine the best practices to secure your corporate data and devices when employees leave, it is important to understand the various circumstances under which they may leave your organization. Retiring, resigning and absconding are all forms of quitting an organization, but differ greatly.

    MDM for data security
    Photo by drazenzigic from freepik

    Some employees may complete a long duration of over 20 years with your organization and eventually retire voluntarily with a planned notice period. Alternatively, an employee who has worked with your organization for a short duration may decide to move on after serving the notice period. These are the preferred ways of departure for a business because they have to chance to anticipate it, as well as plan the exit protocols and offboarding process throughout the notice period.

    Some employees may decide to leave your organization voluntarily, but without notice, due to health reasons or personal emergencies. In such scenarios, businesses do not have much time to plan a proper offboarding. However, in such cases, it is essential that companies instantly revoke the employees’ access to all the corporate networks and demand the instant surrender of the corporate devices.

    Infrequently, employees also have to leave their organizations involuntarily. When a company decides to terminate employees, they have to leave the organization within a specified duration of time. This, however, has a great risk of employees intentionally leaking sensitive business information as an act of revenge.

    Preparing for When An Employee Leaves Your Organization with MDM

    An employee walking out of your organization with your corporate data can be concerning. But if you have a powerful device and endpoint management solution in place, you can restrict access to employees and protect your corporate data even on BYO devices or employees’ personal devices.

    Here’s what MDM solutions like Scalefusion empower you to do:

    1. Create data protection policies

    Business data security is not a step that must be taken after an employee resigns. It must be a constant practice right from the time the employees join your organization. MDM solutions allow businesses to push extensive security policies such as data encryption, multi-factor authentications, data loss prevention (DLP) policies, etc. from the time of employee onboarding.

    2. Restrict employee access to confidential data

    MDM solutions allow your company-IT admins to push relevant business resources on your employees’ devices. Not all employees of the organization need access to every piece of corporate data that is there. This prevents employees from gaining too much exposure to company information which creates a large data security threat.

    Scalefusion MDM offers Conditional Email Access which adds an extra layer of security to corporate emails and ensures that no employee can access corporate mailboxes unless they enroll their devices with the MDM console and abide by the company’s security policies.

    3. Monitor employee behavior

    With the growing enterprise mobility, the use of mobile devices to access business resources has increased. It is crucial that businesses keep monitoring the use of their sensitive corporate data by their employees. But monitoring hundreds and thousands of devices can be a tricky task. This is where MDM plays a vital role.

    MDM solutions offer a comprehensive overview of their inventory, data usage, compliance violations and much more. Scalefusion MDM allows company IT admins to monitor device vitals, data usage, device activity, WiFi connectivity history and much more to identify suspicious behaviors. Collect routine feedback from employees to analyze their behavior use employee satisfaction survey example.

    4. Be ready with a backup plan

    It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure. Organizations must always have a backup strategy to ensure that their corporate data does not fall into the wrong hands and hiring a freelance cyber security developer is one of the most important aspects. Scalefusion MDM offers exceptional features that help IT admins draw the reigns on their corporate data security.

    • Remote device lock in case of device loss or theft.
    • Remote data wipe to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive business data.
    • Prevent users from copying data from work apps to personal apps on BYO devices.
    • Factory reset protection on Android EMM devices.

    5. Reinforce BYOD security

    The one thing that’s more challenging than ensuring data security on corporate devices, is ensuring data security on employees’ personal devices. MDM solutions allow businesses to keep employees private and professional data separate on their BYO devices. This allows enterprises to push security policies on a specific work folder containing all the work data, without hampering the functionality of the user’s personal device.

    The reason why this is beneficial is that even if the employee leaves the organization, company IT admins are still in control of the corporate data that is stored in the work folder. MDM solutions can help set up policies that prevent users from copying their work data from their work apps to their private apps on their personal devices, block screenshots and USB drivers, etc. to ensure that the employees do not exfiltrate the corporate data.

    Closing Lines

    Having an endpoint management solution enables you to reinforce your security posture and tackle data security challenges related to employees that leave the organization. Whether your employees leave your organization with or without notice, Scalefusion MDM empowers you to regain control over your data and prevent misuse or unauthorized access.

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    Shambhavi Awate
    Shambhavi Awate
    Shambhavi is a Senior Content Writer at Promobi Technologies with prior experience in commercial writing, creative planning, product cataloging, and content strategizing. She is a "Biotechnologist turned writer" and believes that the inception of great ideas happens over coffee.

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