You're Fired! Now Give Me Your Password

You're Fired! Now Give Me Your Password 

"You're FIRED!" (now give me your password).

Losing an employee is not usually a good experience. If they leave voluntarily, you lose a valuable asset. If they have to be fired, you have the arduous task of the progressive discipline process and the final termination meeting. Hopefully, you have your IT person standing by to change passwords, lock accounts down, etc; or if the employee you're losing is IT.. well hopefully you've already engaged an IT firm to handle the transition, or have another competent IT person on staff. 

Here are some considerations regarding passwords and voluntary termination (A.K.A. resigned) or involuntary termination (A.K.A. fired.) It is important you have a process in place so that whenever a termination occurs, nothing slips through the cracks regarding corporate data security. 

  1. When you dismiss an employee, you should immediately change out all passwords for anything the employee had access to. Because almost all terminations should be planned, you should also define the process for canceling access. It is unwise to cancel prior to the termination meeting. If you do that, you create the potential for a confrontation when they arrive at work and find their passwords have been changed. Instead, plan ahead and assign someone to disable their passwords during the time you are having the termination meeting. Before the meeting, be sure you have a list of all access cards, keys, etc. prepared so they can be cancelled before the employee leaves the building.

  2. Voluntary terminations ­- Different firms have different policies handling resignations. Depending on the specific position, an employee will be permitted to continue working during their 2 week notice period. In that case, you need to consider if there is any possibility the employee might get up to no good during the final days. That is something only you can judge. 
  3. Make sure you have a solid data backup and business continuity strategy in place, and regular offsite archiving of backup data. You may not discover an employee delete sensitive data immediately after a termination, or you may need to be able to compare data to look for changes. Datto backup appliances can help with this, especially if you utilize the "Backup Insights" feature on a Siris3. 
  4. Force a password change for their immediate surrounding co-workers, and consider forcing it company wide in the coming days. You may not be privy to who shared a password with the terminated employee, and if password sharing is against company policy (as it should be!) employees may be hesitant to confess. Having a password change in the terminated employees general area as a matter of policy eliminates the need for anyone to admit they broke policy, and protects your business.
  5. Consider pushing a remote wipe to the terminated employees BYOD devices from your Exchange server. This should remove only the company data and reboot the phone to prevent access, but isn't fool proof. Some phones will wipe ALL of the data on the device. You may offer the employee the chance to remove the company related information from their mobile device while you're present. Your IT person, or IT firm, can give you a list of devices that have accessed company data via the terminated employees credentials, so you know they aren't hiding a second device in the car or at home. 

In some cases, firms will ask an employee to leave the facility immediately. In that case, you need to have a plan in place. You need to have a list available of all of the restricted systems to which they have access for when this situation arises. The employee should not leave the building until all of their access has been canceled, as they may have access setup on a personal laptop or their mobile phone.

This all may seem a bit harsh, but things have changed. 30 years ago, for a disgruntled employee to steal files, they'd be carrying out large boxes of file folders. Now, not only can they empty the building onto a thumb drive, they can take nefarious action that wasn't possible when data was stored on paper.

ROI Technology Inc. can help you develop an employee termination procedure. Fill out the form below to get started. 

Like & follow ROI Technology Inc. on social media for contests, free e-guides, and more!