Coronavirus has disrupted businesses around the world and forced businesses of Data Security into shutting down.
Even when the businesses reopen, people would be reluctant to visit physical stores, restaurants and more due to virus concerns.
This has forced businesses into going into bankruptcy. Businesses have no other alternative but layoffs.
Handling layoffs can be a bit tricky but more so during a mass layoff in a pandemic and recession.
If the layoff process does not go according to the plan, it can not only cause financial implications but can also have security concerns to your critical business data.
You don’t want your laid-off employees to get away with corporate intellectual property.
That is why it is important for businesses to ensure data security during layoffs.
In this article, you will learn about seven effective tips to keep your data secure during layoffs.
Plan For Remote Workers
With millions of employees forced to work from their homes, the first thing you need to do is to update your plan for remote workers if you have one already.
If you don’t, then you should develop it immediately.
Laying off remote workers is much more complicated as they won’t be able to hand over important files, access control and other things that businesses customer conversations might need before terminating an employee.
To cope up with this challenge, businesses should update their policies and plans to make employee separation a smoother transition.
Otherwise, they will bump into several issues that make this process a hassle and waste a lot of time and resources as well.
It is also difficult to tell remote workers that they are no longer associated with your organization.
That is why it is important to establish a clear communication channel and communicate your message as clearly as possible.
This way they don’t set the wrong expectations and continue using company devices.
By clearly telling them that they can no longer access the company data, you can minimize the risk of misuse.
Avoid confusion and misunderstandings as it can create problems for your business in the future and you don’t want to get into hot waters due to poor communication.
Security Clause In Employee Contract
Companies that have a well-thought-out security strategy in place tend to make policies that let them take care of everything before employee onboarding.
Claire Ginnelly, Human Resource Director at Information Security Forum said, “Many employment contracts must have a strict IP clause and include specific policies regarding the treatment of confidential data whether they are your current or previous employee.”
When you make it part of your employee contracts, the person who is about to join your company has no choice but to agree.
This also helps businesses in holding their new employees accountable for their actions in the long run.
Choose Your Decommissioning Path Wisely
Most network security experts suggest that you should immediately stop employees from accessing your organization’s network after they are laid off but still many companies don’t follow this rule as it is.
Some businesses tend to wait a bit longer before cutting off access while others let employees collect their personal data before preventing them from accessing the network.
Rick Holland, CISO at Digital Shadows said:
“The termination process should be orchestrated to eliminate opportunities for the staff members to steal or destroy data. Corporate access should be disabled at the exact time that the employee is informed of the termination.”
According to him:
“Businesses should enable additional monitoring through user and entity behaviour analytics. This can help you raise the red flag as soon as suspicious activity is detected especially just before or after an employee leaves your organization..”
This will allow you to identify suspicious activities quickly and minimize the damage.
Tim Mackey, Principal Security Strategist at Synopsys CyRC said:
“The key question to ask in the context of employee separations would be, what audit controls are in place to discover data points which are usually accessible for employers. These audit controls make sure that all data is returned as it is especially when they are returning their devices”
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Invest In Compliance Training
Businesses need to effectively employ the best data destruction procedures whenever they are laying off employees. While old data might not have any use for you as of now, it can prove to be beneficial if your competitors gain access to the same.
Including security clauses in an employee, contracts are not enough.
You need to organize regular compliance training for employees on how to handle sensitive data.
Make sure you maintain the inventory of all the data and devices so that you know exactly which devices are owned.
And by which employees and what action they can perform on it.
Ensure that all the access to company data is disabled before letting employees go.
You don’t want your leaving employees to have access to your sensitive business data even after they have been terminated.
Assign an Independent Manager
Niamh Muldoon, EMEA Senior Director in Trust and Enterprise Cybersecurity at OneLogin advises businesses:
“Appointing an independent assurance manager within the project team is a critical role. This person is on point to complete checklists and sign off that actions are completed.”
Since most businesses now have cross-functional project teams with members from both operations and technology.
It is important to support your security teams by appointing an independent assurance manager who oversees the process and makes sure all steps are taken according to the company policies.
This ensures a smoother transition for both employees and companies and prevents any mishap during employee separation.
Look After Your Security Team
Last but certainly not the least is to take care of your security team who is already burned out.
They have to pick up all the slack which is left behind by leaving employees and make sure that they don’t access your business data.
Jadee Hanson, Chief Information Security Officer at Code42 said :
“In any layoff situation, security needs to have the bandwidth to look at more alerts, dig into more data, and address more risks in a very compressed time frame.”
She further adds:
“Ensure your team is supported to do this work with the right backups and support in place.”
How do you keep your business information secure when you lay off employees? Let us know in the comments section below.