The massive wave of layoffs in 2024 has brought to light a significant cybersecurity threat: offboarding employees. Even top-tier companies often fail to protect themselves from insider threats. Last August marked a year since two disgruntled Tesla employees, after being let go, exposed the personal information of over 75,000 people, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers.

The issue is only growing. As of May 24, 2024, NerdWallet reported that 298 US-based tech companies laid off 84,600 workers, with major companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft among them. In total, 257,254 jobs were eliminated in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

Whether or not you plan to downsize this year, a proper offboarding process is essential for every business. It’s not just an administrative task—it’s a critical security measure. Failing to revoke access for former employees can lead to severe business and legal consequences.

Potential Issues Include:

Theft of Intellectual Property: Employees can take company files, client data, and confidential information on personal devices. They might also retain access to cloud-based applications your IT department may overlook.

Compliance Violations: Not revoking access privileges can result in noncompliance in heavily regulated industries, leading to fines, penalties, and legal consequences.

Data Deletion: Disgruntled employees might delete crucial emails and files if they retain account access. Without backups, this data is lost permanently. Legal action might be an option, but the costs and time involved often outweigh the potential recovery.

Data Breach: The most alarming risk. Discontented employees could cause a data breach, exposing sensitive information and resulting in costly lawsuits.

Do You Have an Airtight Offboarding Process?

Many organizations don’t. A 2024 study by Wing revealed that one in five organizations has improperly offboarded former users.

Steps to Properly Offboard an Employee:

  1. Implement the Principle of Least Privilege: Proper offboarding starts with proper onboarding. Employees should only have access to necessary files and programs, documented meticulously to ease offboarding.
  2. Leverage Automation: Use automation to revoke access to multiple applications simultaneously, saving time and reducing manual errors.
  3. Implement Continuous Monitoring: Use software to track network activity, identifying suspicious behavior and ensuring former employees don’t retain access.

These are just a few ways to improve your offboarding process.

Protect Your Organization

Insider threats are real and can be devastating. Be proactive in protecting your organization. For a free, in-depth risk assessment of your offboarding process, call us at 630-320-3723 or click here to book your call.