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The 7 steps all businesses need to take when an employee leaves the company.

We often celebrate the grand entrance – the moment a new employee steps through the office door, wide-eyed and ready to conquer. But what about the exit?

The graceful exit is equally crucial, in fact, the future of your business could depend on getting this important process right. In this article, we delve into the significance of IT offboarding and provide a comprehensive guide to ensure a seamless transition for both the employee and the organisation.

Navigating the Goodbye; Why IT Offboarding Matters

Effective IT offboarding is not merely a checklist but a critical process that protects company data, maintains security, and ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

A well-structured offboarding process can provide valuable insights for future operations and maintain positive relations with former employees. When this process isn’t completed correctly it can have dire consequences resulting in company data being stolen or even totally deleted.

  • Imagine a departing colleague as they gather their belongings, wave goodbye, and head into the sunset (or maybe just to the nearest coffee shop). Their digital footprint – accounts, access, and secrets – is still lingering in the system. They may have handed in their company-issued laptop and mobile phone, but you’re completely oblivious to the fact that (contrary to company policy) they set up their company email account on a personal computer and mobile phone.
  • Security Alert! If we neglect IT offboarding, it’s like leaving the back door unlocked. Cyber miscreants might waltz in, grab sensitive data, and throw a party in your network. Not cool.
  • Plus, a messy exit can disrupt workflows, confuse colleagues, and tarnish your company’s reputation. We don’t want that, do we?

Step-by-Step IT Offboarding Process

  1. Notification of Departure

⌚Timing: As soon as the departure is confirmed

Once there is a formal notification from HR the offboarding procedure should be started. It is essential that this is communicated promptly so the offboarding process can begin.

  1. Revoking Access

⌚Timing: On the last working day, adjusted for circumstances

Email and Network Access: Coordination is crucial to balance task completion and security. Access should be revoked immediately after the employee hands over their final work, or during the exit interview if the departure is abrupt.

Access to all company software, cloud services, and applications should be revoked. Using Single Sign-On (SSO) systems can streamline this process.

Remote Access: Disable VPN and other remote access tools at once to prevent potential security vulnerabilities. Change shared passwords if used for remote access.

  1. Retrieving Company Assets

⌚Timing: On the last working day

Identify and Collect: Create a list of all company-owned hardware and peripherals issued to the employee. Schedule a time for the collection of these items or provide instructions for secure mailing if remote.

Inspect and Reset: Check the returned hardware for damage and reset devices to factory settings to remove all personal and company data.

  1. Data Management and Knowledge Transfer

⌚Timing: During the final week

Transfer Work: Ensure work-related files and emails are transferred to a designated person or team.

Backup and Wipe: Back up important data and perform a factory reset on returned devices to prepare them for future use.

  1. Exit Interviews and Feedback

⌚Timing: On the last working day

Although these are usually conducted by HR, IT can also gather feedback on the departing employee’s experience with the technology and tools used. Feedback can help improve IT and security practices.

  1. Updating Documentation

⌚Timing: Immediately after departure

Update internal directories, email lists, and any documentation that lists the employee to maintain accurate records and ensure smooth continuity.

  1. Security Audit

⌚Timing: Within a week after departure

Conduct a security audit to ensure no unauthorised access remains. This includes checking network access, email accounts, and physical access to company premises.

Best Practices for Smooth IT Offboarding

Standardised Checklist: Have a tailored offboarding checklist for different roles.

Collaboration with HR: Ensure that IT offboarding procedures are synchronised with HR processes.

Communicate:  The departing employee should be kept informed about the offboarding process.

Maintain Dignity and Respect: Manage the offboarding process professionally to maintain positive relations.

Regular Updates: Regularly update offboarding procedures to stay ahead of security threats.

Legal Compliance: Ensure revocation of access complies with data privacy and protection laws.

Get our Free offboarding checklist here!

Conclusion

Effective IT offboarding safeguards the company’s assets and information. It maintains security and ensures a professional exit process. Following a structured offboarding process not only protects the organisation but also leaves the door open for future opportunities, such as rehiring or referrals. Remember, a well-handled departure is just as important as a welcoming onboarding process.

By adhering to these guidelines and best practices, your organisation can ensure a secure and smooth transition for leaving employees, preserving both security and positive relations.

Trusted Computing helps businesses in the North West get the maximum out of their technology and assists with employee on or offboarding by providing the highest level of IT support and cybersecurity. Contact us now for an introductory chat.

 

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