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Poor offboarding is a cybersecurity risk
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Small business

Small biz tip: Don’t overlook this digital danger

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Are you the type of business owner who forgets about ex-employees as soon as they’re gone? Failing to remove former employees’ access to your systems and data could lead to security breaches. Don’t let poor offboarding practices be the weak link in your cybersecurity chain.

How improper offboarding can hurt your business

Whenever an employee leaves the organization, you must remove their access to company systems and data. That’s especially true if you’ve laid off an employee. They may feel a sense of anger or resentment towards the company, which makes them more likely to be malicious.

It’s more common than you might think. A recent study from Beyond Identity examined how ineffective offboarding impacts a business’ cybersecurity. They found that one in three employers has been hacked due to ineffective offboarding.

Oh, and most former employees say they can still access company files. Researchers say 91% of employees can still see private files after offboarding earlier last year. Do you want former employees to know what you’re doing a year later? Probably not!

Plus, the study found that only 21% of employers deactivated an employee’s account immediately after they let the worker go. It took 29% a whole week to cut the strings.

Overall, businesses estimated they lost $7,687 to ineffective offboarding. In other words, it’s a mistake you can’t afford to make. Want to build better business practices? Here are the three lessons Kim has for fellow business owners.

Offboarding dangers for small business owners

⚠️ If you don’t completely cut off former employees, you’re taking on a ton of risks, like:

  1. Insider threats: Former employees who can still access company systems and data can steal confidential information or sabotage your systems.
  2. Social engineering: I talk a lot about how dangerous phishing scams are. They can level a company’s computer systems. Former employees are especially dangerous because they know social details about the workplace, which can help them access sensitive information or networks.
  3. Revenge: In some cases, fired employees may attempt to cause harm to their former employer out of revenge, such as launching a denial-of-service attack or spreading false information about the company.

Beyond Identity’s survey found that 86% of employees have considered taking negative actions against a former employer. People who actually went through with retaliation had diverse reasons: 37% said they didn’t get a raise, while 29% cited a bad relationship as their reason.

People had a diverse range of revenge tactics, too. Most of them — 42% — used corporate accounts to access subscriptions, while 34% viewed company financial information and left bad reviews. Others had creepier methods, like reading employees’ emails or hacking into the backend of a company website.

Want to make your employees happy, so they’re less likely to retaliate? Here are five simple ways to keep your employees positive and productive.

Try these offloading solutions to keep your business safe

Begin with clearing up your procedures. Putting an official strategy together may take some time, but the effort is worth it.

By clearly defining your offboarding procedures, you ensure employees are quickly and thoroughly removed from all systems. I recommend making a checklist of all the steps you should take to ensure the employee has no more access.

You can also conduct regular access audits. This can help identify any unauthorized accounts looking through your systems. You can also find insider threats.

Multi-factor authentication is another excellent way to prevent unauthorized access to your company’s systems and data. Even if a former employee stole login credentials, they wouldn’t be able to break in. Tap or click here to set up authenticator apps for your business.

Poor visibility can also hurt your business

This is it — the putt to win the tournament. If you sink it, the championship is yours. But on your backswing, your hat falls over your eyes. Is this how you’re running your business? Poor visibility because you’re still relying on spreadsheets and outdated finance software?

To see the complete picture, you need to upgrade to our sponsor, NetSuite by Oracle. Gain visibility and control of your financials, inventory, HR, planning, budgeting and more.

With NetSuite, you can automate your processes and close your books in no time while staying well ahead of your competition. Approximately 93% of surveyed businesses increased their visibility and control after upgrading to NetSuite. Over 32,000 businesses already use NetSuite.

NetSuite has a financing program for those ready to upgrade! Head to for this special, one-of-a-kind financing offer on the No. 1 financial system for growing businesses.

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