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6 ways to prevent former employees from passing on classified company information

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6 ways to prevent former employees from passing on classified company information

One of the biggest reasons why classified information within companies is lost is poorly managed subscription management. And in general, companies have poor control over their employees’ subscriptions, which means that old employees may have access to subscriptions when they leave the company.

According to a company study by Osterman Research, as many as 89% of employees still have access to at least one application from their previous employer. 70% of the companies that participated in the study also admitted that they had experienced that former employees took confidential information with them when they left the company.

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A professional finish or a painful farewell?

One would like to think that one’s employees would never leave the company on bad terms, but that is not the case. Employees quit because of dissatisfaction with the employer, internal conflicts, or one is fired. That’s the reality.

Regardless of whether an employee has left on good or bad terms, you want to be able to terminate the person’s employment as soon as possible, without complications. But if you have mismanaged your company’s subscription management, the professional ending instead risks becoming a long and painful farewell.

When your business grows, more subscriptions are acquired, and you will quickly find yourself in a situation where old employees still have access to old accounts. You email the former employee but get no response. You call the person but get no answer. A whole workday passes, and finally, the person calls, and with a trembling voice, you ask about the login details and password for that service. Then a few weeks later, you do the same thing again. All because of poor subscription management.

If you’re lucky, you get away with only the emotional embarrassment in the above case; if you are unlucky, confidential information spreads outside company walls.

1. Manage your digital subscriptions

Track which employees use which subscriptions. In this way, you can get an overview of which subscriptions people access and quickly terminate them when they leave your company.

Managing your company’s subscriptions in a spreadsheet or a subscription management tool is essential and an obvious prerequisite for subscription management, where confidential information stays within the company.

2. Distribute responsibilities between departments and employees

Instead of letting a person in an individual department handle the entire company’s digital subscription services, you should share the burden.

Letting a person bear the heavy responsibility of keeping track of all digital subscriptions is not the way to go. Instead, distribute the work between staff and use a tool in which your team leaders can get an overview. Having transparency between departments will open up to exciting opportunities and insights.

3. Onboarding

When onboarding a new employee, you need to know to which department the employee will belong. Then add that person to the group and create accounts for different services. If you don’t have access to the service and cannot make the account, merely ask the service-owner via Substly to create one.

4. Continuous updating through surveys

It can feel like a waste of time to let employees answer questions about which subscriptions they use and which do not. But the fact is that in the long run, it saves time.

Usually, issues related to subscription management are not given very high priority within a company. It tends to get messy when it’s time to look at who has access to which subscriptions. We recommend continuously sending out a survey to new employees and everyone in the team. With the survey, the employees fill in which subscription services and applications they use when working.

5. Offboarding

For offboarding to be as smooth as possible, it’s a prerequisite that the point above are followed – The better preparation, the less finishing work is required. If you have followed the previous points, you should quickly see subscriptions and applications connected to the person leaving the company.

If you’ve not registered the employees’ subscriptions, you risk that former employees have access to services. And in the worst case, they spread classified information and put your company in danger.

6. The importance of managing free subscriptions

The chance that companies that manage their subscriptions also list all free subscriptions connected to the company is minimal, as there’s no financial risk for these services. Many people don’t think or know about the significant security risk in not keeping track of which employees use the company’s free subscriptions.

Free services often tend not to be treated with the same respect as paid services, even though they should be. In the same way as a paid service, a free service can contain sensitive information about the company. For example, many cloud services are completely free. So make sure always to link the right services to the right person, whether it is a paid or free service.

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