How to Protect Your Business Against Former Employees

By September 9, 2019 Security
Protecting Against Former Employees

We’ve said this frequently, and we’ll say it again. One of the biggest security weaknesses that businesses face are their own employees. This isn’t pleasant, but it’s a truth that we have to face. Humans are a weak link in our cybersecurity defenses. When we make mistakes – forgetting to change a default password or clicking on a link we shouldn’t – we open the door for attackers.

But there’s another way that your people can threaten your organization. It’s from within: disgruntled or dissatisfied former employees. These are people who are no longer with your business but may still have access to your network and your accounts. Plus, they know how you operate.

This is a real fear, and one you should take seriously. 24% of SMBs are more concerned that attacks will come from ex-employees than from hacktivist groups, competitors, or state-sponsored hackers (Source: AppRiver). A recent survey shows that 20% of organizations have already experienced data breaches by ex-employees (Source: OneLogin).

How can you reduce this threat? Here are some steps to help prevent former employees from attacking your business or breaching your data.

Remove former employees’ access immediately

Make sure that your employee offboarding procedures include steps for removing all of a former employee’s access to your network and company accounts. Even though this process can be time-consuming, but it’s critical.

Your IT staff or support firm should be notified immediately that an employee is leaving. There should be no confusion about who is responsible for revoking access and permissions, changing login information, and removing users from accounts.

Change your passwords

On top of revoking their access, make sure that you’ve changed the passwords for all systems and accounts that an employee had access to. This includes changing administrative passwords for servers and networks. Notify third-party services (e.g. email or customer support, vendors and partners, etc.) to update passwords as well.

Recognize the signs of a disgruntled employee

You should try to identify problematic ex-employees early on. The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center has a “Combating the Insider Threat” resource. It can help you learn the characteristics of employees who are at risk of becoming a threat.

If you can recognize the behavioral indicators of a problematic employee, you are ahead of the game in knowing how to deal with the situation in a safer way.

Issue Warnings

You should begin with preventative measures. Make it clear to new employees what your “acceptable use” policy is for company information, devices, and systems. When an employee departs, ensure they are clearly informed about the legal consequences of trying to access the company’s systems or take sensitive or proprietary data with them. Make sure they sign statements that acknowledge they’ve been informed of these policies.

Is that all?

There’s more you can (and should) do to protect your organization from insider threats. These recommendations should be used on top of existing security defenses, like data protection and backup solutions, firewalls, network monitoring, and more.

Do you have any questions about how you can protect your organization from insider threats? Please feel free to contact us and to view our full suite of security services.


Recent Posts / View All Posts

Protecting Against Former Employees

How to Protect Your Business Against Former Employees

| Security | No Comments
We’ve said this frequently, and we’ll say it again. One of the biggest security weaknesses that businesses face are their own employees. This isn’t pleasant, but it’s a truth that we have to face. Humans are a weak link in our cybersecurity defenses. When we make mistakes – forgetting to change a default password or clicking on a link we shouldn’t – we open the door for attackers. But there’s another way that your people can threaten your organization. It's from within: disgruntled or dissatisfied former employees. These are people who are no longer with your business but may still…
Voting Options in Outlook Email

How to Add Voting Options to an Outlook Email

| Tech Tip | No Comments
Need to take a quick poll? Maybe you need to find out how many people in the office are coming to lunch – and this quick tip will show you how the voting options work in Outlook! To making voting options available in an email you are composing: Click on the Options tab on the Ribbon. In the middle of the ribbon, click on Use Voting Options, and select which answers you want to make available. After clicking, you should see an information message that says “You added voting buttons to this message”. Send your email! Recipients will receive your message with…
2019 State of the IT Industry Landscape by OXEN Technology

2019 State of the IT Industry Landscape, Part 5: The Internet of Things and Wireless

| Infrastructure, Leadership | No Comments
In the fifth and final installment of our 2019 update on the state of the IT landscape, we look at two more industry trends: the Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless and wi-fi technologies. What are they, and why is demand increasing? Why is cybersecurity still of constant importance in these areas? Industry Trends: The Internet of Things (IOT) What is the Internet of Things? The IoT is a global network of objects that collect and communicate data via the internet. It extends Internet connectivity beyond laptops, phones, and tablets to an extremely diverse range of “things”. IoT devices include…