Losing (and gaining) employees is part of the reality we all face at work. Recently, a customer (who shall remain anonymous) was faced with a common, and unfortunate, situation regarding a former employee. The customer, we’ll call them ABC Trading Company, needed a document that a former employee worked on and I couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t in any of the public places that it should be: SharePoint, network drives, the old SharePoint site…
So we gave them access to the employee’s old Exchange mailbox, showed them how to open it in Outlook, they looked through his online archive for emails sent back in 2013, and found what they needed.
Now, fast forward a few weeks and a very similar story did not have the same happy ending. They needed screenshots a former employee had taken back in 2014. So, they went through the same pain looking in SharePoint, the old SharePoint, network drives, and then finally his old Exchange mailbox. Except this time, they couldn’t find a single document.
This former employee chose to store all his company data on his own personal laptop, and even managed to never send an email with a document attachment. He transferred documents to co-workers via USB drive and not only managed to walk away with every piece of company data he ever collected, but his former company no longer had access to 75% or more of that information.
This is a serious concern that many employers don’t proactive prepare themselves for. You would like to think that you only hire good people who will do their jobs well and help your business thrive. The reality is that we are far from that ideal picture.
If this customer had in place policies that limit where employees can store corporate data, many of these issues would have been avoided. And if that company had been backing up that data, any attempt by the employee to destroy the data on their way out would be avoided.
As awful as it can be to deal with protecting yourself from malicious employees, the alternative of having your corporate information stolen, and possibly withheld, from you is an even worse situation.
Allison Sousa, PEI