Cut the Risks of Losing Data to Departing Employees

Cut the Risks of Losing Data to Departing Employees

Dennis Snider

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One of the most common ways of losing data is when an employee leaves an organization, whether they are let go, are retiring, or just moving on. This is an issue that business owners have to watch out for.

If employees take data when they leave, the costs can be massive. An average data breach costs around $900,000, researchers say. We then must factor in the time spent repairing the damage and recovering position, the legal implications of having allowed data breaches that may well make an organization non-compliant, and the damage to an organization’s reputation with both clients and partners.

The best approach to deal with data loss is prevention and recovery. To prevent losing data, organizations must have mechanisms and policies in place to mitigate these occurrences. All companies should:

Make sure that all employees are aware that all data is company property and remains so, even if it was solely created by a departing employee;
Include policies and information regarding the way data should be handled and who owns it in all documentation, including employment contracts, so that no employee can say they didn’t know the rules;
Ensure everything is tidied up when an employee leaves, e.g., repossess all company IT hardware, laptops, phones, etc. and make sure all accounts whereby an employee could access data are closed down;
Maintain backups at all times, so if an employee walks away with data, you can always recover from your backup.

In terms of recovery, the aforementioned backups should be created and constantly updated. All of your most important content must be archived; if for some reason, e.g. ill will due to redundancy, an employee deletes data, not only do you need to be able to recover it for yourself but you need to be able to show it existed should legal action be necessary.

Special care should be taken with shared files in SaaS applications such as Office 365 etc.; never leave these files in the control of just one person, and make sure they can be quickly restored to the whole group who need them should they be accidentally or deliberately deleted.

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