Are you losing employees during this pandemic?

Are you losing employees during this pandemic?

Overhead view of employee working on computer

Read these tips to keep your intellectual property safe.

The first half of any year sees a lot of movement in the workforce, but with the advent of this pandemic and the struggle to keep employees engaged and paid, it has increased the rate of turnover.

Frequently, departing employees – even executives — will take the company’s intellectual property (IP) because they think it is theirs since they helped create it. A significant number of businesses have failed to put policies or technologies in place to prevent the loss of intellectual property. The majority of small business owners say they have no user-access policy for remote workers, a particularly worrisome statistic in these times when most of the workforce is remote.

Departing employees innocently take IP because they are unaware of company policy.

Regardless of the reason an employee leaves, you do not want a bad professional breakup resulting in burned bridges, hurt feelings or loss of IP. Specifically, valuable assets like proprietary data, identify credentials or other types of confidential information may be at risk. Occasionally, the theft is due to hard feelings; more often it is unintentional.

There are sophisticated firewalls with secure socket layer (SSL) inspection capabilities to keep your business information safe from theft by cybercriminals. These same advanced firewalls can also be used to protect your proprietary business information and secure your mobile workforce. Data encryption is another common way to secure data. Cantrell’s Computer Sales and Service can design your systems to lower your risk.

Even more immediately available are the ways you can prevent employees with access to sensitive information from innocently taking information with them as they leave for new jobs.

Corporate executive working on computer wondering if the company data is safe from theft.

Tips to keep you and your data safe from innocent theft by departing employees:

  1. Be sure you understand who in your organization has access, and how much access, into your networks.
    • Provide users with only access required for their jobs. When higher access is required for special assignments, limit the scope of the access, and remove it immediately upon completion of the project.
    • As longtime employees change positions, re-examine their access to systems they will no longer need in the new positions. It requires good attention to detail, but it can be made into a checklist or procedure and well worth it in the long run.
  2. Enforce intellectual property and business information access with identity governance and administration policies.
    • Policies allow small business entities to define, monitor and audit compliance.
    • Such policies help manage not only local employees but also remote workers, third-party contractors, and short-term interns.
    • Many employers require employees to sign an intellectual property (IP) agreement and remind staff regularly about IP policies. Post this policy for all to see and regularly remind staff in corporate employee communications. Particularly important is to remind the employee who has just given notice of the policies they are mandated to follow.
  3. Deprovision access when situations change, particularly when employees leave.
    • While relinquishing devices, badges, keys and access fobs upon departure, your IT support needs to be notified and should deprovision all applications the employee has been using, including email and network accounts. Cantrell’s Computer Sales & Service can do this work if your company does not have an IT department or they are overwhelmed.

These are troubling times, employees will leave; it’s inevitable. Rather than wait to see if a departing employee takes IP or other sensitive data, put policies and systems in place to help safeguard your valuable data. Inform your employees of the policies during orientation and on a regular basis thereafter. Limit the access your employees have to systems and deprovision their access when their job responsibilities change or they leave the company.

Cantrell’s Computer Sales & Service can help your business manage your intellectual property and keep your business information secure. A perfect starting point is to have Cantrell’s Computer Sales & Service complete an inexpensive risk assessment that will identify security and data vulnerabilities. For peace of mind, call Cantrell’s today: 925. 827. 1200.

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2280 Diamond Blvd., Suite 150
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Revised Hours Effective March 18, 2020: Our office is closed to walk-in traffic and we are currently helping customers by remote services only until further notice. 
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