According to Osterman Research's "Best Practices for Protecting Your Data When Employees Leave Your Company", 69 percent of organizations have experienced data loss from employee movements (departure, changing roles, re-location), and 50 percent of employees who left their jobs in the last 12 months kept confidential corporate data.
Fully 25% of Sensei's digital forensics work involves the theft of proprietary data so we know how big a headache this is for law firms and other businesses. Legaltechnews carried a good post (sub.req.) offering thoughts about how to keep data from walking out the door
- Limit Access to Data
Give employees what they need access to – and no more. Use technology and policies to create alerts when data has been accessed inappropriately.
VPN policies help to limit access to specific data repositories when employees are working remote, lessening the risk that important data is not transferred to personal data sources.
2. Evaluate Over-Archiving Policies
Get rid of what you don't need. De-duplicate data within archives.
3. Clearly Communicate Policies
If you don't clearly (and often) communicate data management policies, you risk data loss. Make sure employees understand the importance of returning all corporate data when they leave.
Part of vendor management is communicating the same policies to vendors, including law firms.
4. Leverage Technology to Track Employee Status Changes
Use technology to track employee movements (i.e. departures, new hires, role changes) using manual processes (i.e. assigning individuals to review spreadsheets).
Look for technology that can automatically task employees to take a corrective action, which may include collecting data from a departing custodian data source, suspending document retention policies for a recently departed custodian under legal hold, etc. Keep an audit trail of all actions taken.
5. Utilize Robust Employee Agreements
Spell out the employee's duties to return data when leaving and indicate, within the bounds of state law, what action the employer may take if data is not returned. Make sure the employees understand – and get a separate signature for the provision about returning data and the consequences for failing to do so.
6. Implement Coordinated Security Measures
Balance physical security with network security. Implementing strong passwords and using keycards to access company property is fundamental. Consider locking down USB storage devices. Use data loss prevention software to monitor data in the cloud. This software provides added security by alerting and logging when files are moved or accessed.
7. Conduct Exit Interviews
Exit interviews may help to determine if the employee might potentially go to work for a competitor. It's also a chance to remind the employee of any policies or agreements, and ensure that they understand their obligations when leaving the company.
The exit interview may help you learn if risk is heightened because an employee is disgruntled or going to work for a competitor. If that's the situation, the company may take steps, such as sending a letter to the new employer of this employee's obligations. You may also want to preserve the departing employee's data rather than wiping devices right away.
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Digital Forensics/Information Security/Information Technology