How to protect your small business from former employees

For small businesses, employees are the life-blood of the company.

Without employees, day to day tasks fall to the way-side, customer experience suffers, and management's to-do list quickly snowballs out of control.


There are certain risks that come with entrusting business processes and the company reputation to the hands of someone else. On the other side of the same coin, ties will at times have to be cut with unsatisfactory employees. While this is an unavoidable aspect of running a small business and managing the workforce, it is vital that the company and its online reputation are protected against disgruntled former employees.


This guide reviews the necessary protocols to immediately put in place, as well as what steps to take post employee-separation to ensure your business is safeguarded.



During Employment

Unfortunately, there are times when an employee's performance starts to decline, or there may even be suspicions that the employee is maliciously harming the business. Fortunately, in this digital age, it is easier than ever to investigate thoroughly and ensure the business is secure.


By having a relationship with a digital forensics company, it's easy to request a quick investigation to see what sites employees are visiting while on the job, if they're accessing any files that they shouldn't, or even if they are sending those files externally or saving them to their own hard drive or USB.


Besides the security of the company's documents, a digital forensics expert can also track who employees are contacting and filter through any stored or deleted messages. This ensures employees are not sending out private business contact information. This is an especially critical step and should always occur prior to any planned employee separations.


Post Separation

Most businesses face the largest risk of employee damage immediately before or right after separation. Whether an employee has submitted notice of their planned leave or is being immediately dismissed, it is crucial that the business is protected.


Once an employee leaves, the number one way to protect the company is to get a forensic copy of the employee's accounts and work devices. This ensures that any needed information they have stored is not permanently deleted and creates a log of activity, should that be needed in the future. Once the data is preserved securely, the devices can then be erased for re-use by other employees.


Once an employee relationship is severed, it is critical that all system access is revoked. System access includes the employee's mailbox, network access, and software accounts. Archive the data and securely wipe it so the employee cannot re-access any data post-employment. A digital forensics partner ensures that this occurs promptly and securely; keeping the company's data private.


While employee separations are never enjoyable, it is crucial that employees do not leave the business and its digital security vulnerable. Having a relationship with a digital forensics company ensures the business is protected by keeping their tools and expertise close. Exhibit A Discovery provides thorough investigation and reporting services to flag any risks, data compromises, or suspicious employee behavior, helping to protect the business as it grows.


For more information on services, or recommendations on how to protect the business, contact us here.