Do You Hire or Fire People? Stay Safe During Turnover

September 19, 2023

Introduction

If you’re reading this now, the title must have intrigued you. Are you involved with the onboarding and offboarding process in your organization, to any extent?

Whenever someone is entering or exiting the company, a window of opportunity opens. If you’re not careful and they have ill intentions, someone being on- or offboarded could attempt to compromise the privacy of the sensitive data that your company manages.

Cybersecurity should play a role in every stage of the employee turnover process! There are security risks inherently involved in turnover which can quickly blossom into a full-blown attack.

Photo by cottonbro studio

Onboarding

During onboarding, organizations should take steps to ensure that new employees are properly trained on cybersecurity policies and procedures. This includes educating employees on the importance of data security, password management, social engineering awareness and everything else encompassed in your annual security awareness training.

This is where effective documentation comes in handy. If you create and execute a plan for efficient and secure hiring, then it will ensure newbies quickly get into the swing of things. They can jump into team projects with the same trainings and knowledge as everybody else, ensuring the project’s privacy. They’ll train on how to use the same systems and softwares that the rest of the team uses, for easier collaboration and communication throughout the workday.

Turning on the right access controls and securing new hires’ systems immediately are critical steps to the onboarding process. You wouldn’t want to give them a company computer with no antivirus software, or lock them out of their company email account!

Offboarding

Throughout your employment, you should be taking (or even distributing, depending on your role) regular security awareness refreshers. This is important to keep up-to-date with the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and to ensure that you’re ready to enact the latest cybersecurity best practices. If you manage other people, you need to ensure that your team follows suit.

When an employee leaves an organization, it is critical that you take fast and efficient measures to protect any data and assets that they could view or manage while working there. This includes disabling the employee’s access to systems and data, and ensuring that all sensitive information is properly disposed of.

Documentation comes in handy again! It should already be standard to immediately disable access to sensitive data when somebody leaves the company. The more you do it, the more instinctive it becomes!

Conclusion

By taking steps to incorporate cybersecurity into the employee turnover process, organizations can help to protect themselves from cyberattacks both accidental and intentional.

Help ensure that cybersecurity has a firm place in the turnover process:

  • Contribute to a comprehensive cybersecurity training program that is tailored to the specific needs of employees at all levels.
  • Complete cybersecurity training on a regular basis, and engage with refresher material to stay sharp in between trainings.
  • Where additional training is needed, start a dialogue about how to fill that gap and strengthen the security awareness of the entire organization.
  • Implement a zero-trust security model that minimizes the risk of unauthorized access to systems and data.
  • Use technology solutions to automate security tasks and to detect and respond to threats in real time.
  • Help cultivate a culture of security that emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity and that encourages employees to report suspicious activity.

By taking these steps, cybersecurity will soon become a top priority throughout the employee turnover process at your company!

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

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