11 Simple Ways to Protect Your Business After an Employee Exits

What is one way I can protect my business technology/network in the event that an employee exits or is fired suddenly?

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Write Clear Standard Operating Procedures

Use a tool such as SweetProcess to gather everyone’s knowledge in the company, so if anyone does leave, you’re not left with a knowledge gap. This also helps employees who are staying on board save time and not have to ask a lot of questions when doing a task that’s been done before.
Nathalie Lussier, Nathalie Lussier Media Inc.

2. Have Good Noncompete Agreements

Make sure you’ve got a good noncompete agreement and other details in the employee contract that protect your interests. Most importantly, you can make sure you end on good terms to avoid any rash decisions on behalf of the employee. Ever heard the term “an eye for an eye”? Don’t make people feel like you’ve taken something from them, and they won’t feel compelled to take from you.
Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

3. Implement Automation

Using an open-source tool such as Chef can automate your entire technology infrastructure, so simple changes can be made instantly, such as removing an employee’s access or locking someone’s resources. Having automation prevents you from manually guessing and changing each resource the former employee had access to.
Phil Chen, Givit

4. Create Confidentiality Agreements

I think the best way to protect yourself is to set up the processes that will protect you from this risk before there is an event. The best offense is a good defense, and having confidentiality agreements executed by employees when they’re hired mitigates any risk of possible information leaks when someone is fired, and it provides you with possible recourse.
Bobby Grajewski, Edison Nation Medical

5. Passpack

Using a password storing and sharing system — we use Passpack — helps you control access to critical systems and material. If someone leaves, you can update all passwords except that person’s. But if you have employees who you worry will act vindictively, you should step back, and look at how employees are treated and what your personnel processes are.
Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack

6. Change Passwords

Some easy first steps are to change the passwords for all sensitive logins they had access to and deactivate or blacklist any of their individual accounts. Make sure the network in your office is secured and that no unknown connections are being made.
Daniel Wesley, Creditloan.com

7. Use Mobile Device Management

I just wrote an article about this, and I stressed a layered security approach and a strategy of always protecting your company’s data, even when it resides on an employee’s mobile device. If you implement this strategy, you can safely wipe your business data without having to resort to awkwardly repossessing devices that may contain your former employee’s personal files.
Robby Hill, HillSouth

8. Have Predetermined Termination Procedures

When an employee quits or is fired suddenly, you should have operational procedures in place to cut that employee off from any critical company information. In our case, we tie all our access points to an employee’s Google apps email account. This makes it very easy to change that one password and terminate access for that user across our entire organization.
Liam Martin, Staff.com

9. Use the Cloud

If you aren’t storing information locally, then it is easier to limit employees’ access to systems and information. Within the cloud you can quickly change the password so employees cannot breach your systems. Similarly, you can restrict or eliminate their access to the cloud. Even if they take a work computer, you can prevent them from getting back into anything you don’t want them to have.
Ty Morse, Songwhale

10. Value Cross Training

The best protection is often prevention, and one great way to prevent sudden loss of institutional knowledge and processes is to make sure everyone participates in and values cross training within departments and sometimes even outside of them. Sudden losses will come, but how you’ve planned for them makes the difference.
Michael Seiman, CPXi

11. Manage and Secure Passwords

We use LastPass to automatically create, store and share secure passwords across the team. When someone leaves, all you have to do is disable his or her LastPass account, and that person will instantly lose access to every login. It’s also easy to create groups to automatically control who has access to which sites.
Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media

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About Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

  • Owen McGab Enaohwo

    @nathlussier, thanks for mentioning SweetProcess in this article by @yec and thanks for also being our customer.

    I am one of the co-founders of SweetProcess and I am available to answer any question that the readers of this blog might have regarding how to document procedures and/or systematize their business.

    So if you are reading this comment and have a question, go ahead, leave it as a comment and I will respond with an answer.