Are We Learning Anything From All These Cyber Attacks?

So many big, expensive cyber attacks have taken place in the last few years that it’s hard to remember them all – when will we learn our lesson?

Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks are common ground these days. There was the Chase Bank breach of 2014, which exposed the financial information of 76 million Chase customers. This attack was set to target 10 major financial institutions in total, but only one other company reported that data had been stolen. This company was Fidelity Investments. Though the attack caused serious repercussions for Chase Bank, the damage could have been much worse. Four hackers (two from Israel) were eventually arrested.

Hacking Isn’t Just About Stealing Data

In the Sony Pictures data breach of 2014, over 100 terabytes of data was stolen by North Korea. This attack was about more than just getting the personal information of consumers. The attack occurred because of a movie that Sony Pictures was set to release called “The Interview”.

The movie, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, was a fictional story about two journalists who go to North Korea to interview Kim Jung Un. The two men actually work for the CIA and are planning to assassinate the very well-known but unpopular leader. It was believed that North Korea’s leader ordered the cyber attack on Sony Pictures to show his displeasure and disapproval of the film. In addition to the personal information of Sony executives and other employees, hundreds of photos and emails were released to the public. These highly personal items caused a massive amount of embarrassment to Sony’s top executives.

No One Is Safe from Hackers

Proving that no one is immune from cyber hackers, Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, was infiltrated by hackers in mid-2017. The company estimated that approximately 143 Americans were affected. In addition, an unknown number of consumers from Canada and the UK were affected by this breach.  Were there any signs that an enormous data breach like this might occur?

A report issued in October of 2017 by Motherboard, found that Equifax had certain vulnerabilities due to an online portal created for employees. Researchers discovered that the Equifax website was highly susceptible to a basic forced browsing bug. A researcher from Motherboard said that he didn’t even have to do anything special to infiltrate the system. It was far too easy to get in.

“All you had to do was put in a search term and get millions of results, just instantly—in cleartext, through a web app,” the researcher said.

In spite of this information being available to Equifax, it took them six months to close the portal and shut down these vulnerabilities. In this day and age, it’s unthinkable that organizations as sophisticated as Equifax might be so lax in their data security.

The Final Cost of Cyber Breaches

Target Stores lost millions of dollars when they had to reimburse customers for their losses after their 2013 data breach. In addition to that, a class action lawsuit was settled for roughly $10 million. As if that wasn’t enough, 20-30 percent of Target shoppers said they were worried about shopping online at Target stores after the breach.

Are We More Vulnerable Than We Believe?

Many data security experts believe that cyber weaknesses like this are far more common than the public believes. In an era when everyone should be fully aware and taking every precaution to prevent a data breach, numerous large corporations remain at risk.

After all is said and done, most people would expect any organization that has experienced a cyber theft to drastically improve their cybersecurity. Large, expensive data breaches leave an organization open to legal action, plus they’re embarrassing. Consumers say that they are less likely to do business with any company that has been a victim of a cyber breach.

But has that really happened? A new study performed by CyberArk reveals that 46 percent of all companies who have experienced a cyber breach have not substantially updated their security policies.

This failure to learn from past mistakes has the public truly baffled. In some cases, IT professionals have been interviewed and asked why they haven’t greatly improved their cybersecurity. Over 30 percent of these pros said that they did not believe it was possible to prevent all cyber-attacks. This indicates that even security experts aren’t sure what to do to stop future attacks from occurring. But, should we simply make the decision not do anything at all?

New Report Sheds Light on the Problem

A 2018 report from CyberArk called, “Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report”, indicates that at least half of all businesses and organizations have only taken the basic security measures required by law. Though their public relations department may say they are taking every precaution to protect customer data, this is probably not true. In addition, 36 percent of respondents in the report said that administrative credentials were currently being stored in Excel or Word docs. These documents would be easy to obtain by any hacker with average skills.

The Global Advanced Threat Landscape Report also reveals that the number of users with administrative privileges has jumped from 62 percent to 87 percent over the past few years. This points to the fact that many companies are opting for employee convenience over data security best practices. This is an alarming statistic given the soaring cost of cyber breaches.

Moving Into the Future with Better Cyber Security

The new AT&T Global State of Cybersecurity highlights many of the critical gaps that remain in our cybersecurity strategies. IT infrastructure and critical data must be fully protected, including credentials and security answer keys. In most organizations, those in higher positions are given greater access and authority to online data and this equates to heightened risks of a cyber breach.

According to Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions, “If 2017 has taught us anything, it is that every device needs to be secured because any vulnerability will be found and exploited”.

The company is set to sign a deal with Punkt Tronics to install better security on smartphones, Blackberry devices, and other electronic devices. With consumers spending more and more time browsing on their cell phones, all mobile carriers are searching for ways to better protect their customers from hacking.

What Consumers Can Do

A great increase in the sale of anti-virus software and password managers demonstrates a strong resolve by consumers to incorporate stronger security measures into their everyday lives. Innovative technology is producing a new generation of security software that combines threat defense techniques and other more conventional means of cybersecurity. Though some of these techniques are having an impact, experts believe there’s much more to be done.

As our society becomes more aware and more prepared, even stronger security for IT systems will be developed. Until then, security experts urge the public to be more cautious about clicking on links. Employees at any company need regularly scheduled security meetings where they are educated and reminded to utilize best practices when using smartphones and computers. All programs should be updated regularly with software updates and fixes to known bugs. Create difficult passwords and change them every 90 days. These are just a few of the ways that consumers can stay safe while surfing on the internet.

Tired of Sending Marketing Emails That Go in the “Trash”?

Here Are The 10 Things You’re Doing Wrong

Email Marketing

Email is a very effective marketing tool. However, it’s also tough to execute properly. If you don’t plan correctly, understand what you’re doing wrong and how to remedy this, you’re simply wasting your time and money.

You aren’t getting new subscribers.

If you can’t entice new subscribers, you are simply spinning your wheels. Without an ever-increasing pool of subscribers, your open rates will suffer. If you want to grow your email list, you must clearly state the benefits of subscribing to it. Clearly state what you can offer, and how you can address people’s concerns. Your prospects need to know why they should sign on. Consider offering something for free that you believe will be of value to them like a free trial, sample product or document with relevant information.

Your subscribers keep leaving.

The best way to ensure that your current subscribers stay with you is by sending out relevant emails to the right audience. You must correctly identify your target audiences and segment your email list accordingly – this way you can address the various pain points for different subscribers. By segmenting your list, you can not only retain more subscribers but increase your click-through rates as well. All too often, an email strategy is more focused on the company’s needs rather than the customers’. Receiving too many irrelevant emails is the main reason subscribers opt out. If you want to keep subscribers, stay focused on your target audience and their needs, rather than yours.

Your email subject lines aren’t eye-catching.

This is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face. People are overwhelmed with the amount of email they receive and will only open the messages that catch their eye. You must grab their attention in the subject line. Craft a message that is short and to the point. Personalizing the message in your subject line and keeping your message to fewer than 30 characters should help. A carefully written subject line will entice recipients to read the rest of your email.

You’re understaffed.

Performance always suffers when resources are limited. If you’re understaffed and “burning the midnight oil” just to stay afloat, your quality will suffer. Streamline your email process and look for bottlenecks and obstacles that slow your workflow. Take advantage of software automation tools that help your email team design and code emails more quickly. If necessary, you may need to hire more staffers, both full-time and part-time, or contract with freelancers. Freelancers can also offer expertise that your team may lack.

Your deliverability suffers.

You may have the best emails and subject lines, but if they are being sent to the junk inbox, you’re doomed to failure. Your emails must get through any spam filters. When your deliverability rate suffers, you can get blocked altogether by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). How do you fix this? Don’t use spam words in your subject lines. Phrases such as “make money,” “earn cash,” “save $” will go directly to spam mail. And, of course, ensure that your prospects’ email addresses are accurate. Consider asking people who visit your website to re-confirm their email address when signing on to your list. This way you can make sure you have their correct email address from the start.

You need a new ESP.

You need an Email Service Provider that works for you. Some focus more on larger enterprises or certain verticals like e-commerce. You need an ESP that fits your brand. Try using more than one to see if this is the problem. Measure your success rates with each one. You can employ analytics tracking with multiple ESPs. Some businesses use up to four different ones to increase the odds that their emails will be delivered. Use the ones that provide you the best rates for delivery.

You need to cull your list.

You may need to remove contacts that have been inactive for a long time or those who never open your emails or go to your website. If you know that a lot of the emails on your list are no longer active, delete them. They just cost you money. You must maintain your list. You can also do this by letting subscribers manage their preferences (to opt-out if they want). Set up a way for them to change their communication preferences like what kind of information they want to receive or how often they want to receive them. This helps to build the sense of trust that they require to stay with you.

Your team is sabotaging your efforts.

You may be doing everything right, but other departments aren’t. If customer service is lacking, you’re sure to lose subscribers. If your website or mobile application isn’t easy to use, subscribers will get frustrated and go to a competitor. Keeping customers happy requires teamwork. Get together regularly with other departments in your company to share experiences, concerns, successes, and insights. Ensure your team members are onboard with your email strategy, measure your results and work together to fix what’s broken. Set up read-only access to your marketing emails for team members so they’re kept apprised. Everyone must be on the same page and working in unison.

You’re not measuring results and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Measuring the performance of email campaigns is imperative. Unless you know what works and what doesn’t, you’re leaving money on the table. Implement a closed-loop marketing strategy to achieve the results you’re looking for. This means following a subscriber from the initial point of contact to their conversion as a paying customer. Be sure to leverage the available data from your ESP and feed your data back to them to get more visibility into your results. When making adjustments based on data, do so in increments and prioritize your changes. This way you can continue to measure the results of your changes one by one until you get it right.

You aren’t using the right process.

Not having a plan will make your job so much more difficult. Your email process should be designed to speed up your email production and improve quality control. You need an extensive pre-sending plan. Here’s one to go by. You fill in the blanks according to your goals.

  1. Plan your marketing strategy
  2. Collect data on your target audience
  3. Construct your database
  4. Define your email plan
  5. Define your content
  6. Setup your emails
  7. Send your emails
  8. Measure your results

Goal setting is crucial to your email marketing success. It will help to guide the direction of your campaign, make it easier for you to measure results, and increase the odds that you’ll ultimately succeed in the end.

The 9 Biggest Website Design Mistakes That Business Owners Make

With a great looking, professional website, your business can compete in today’s complex marketplace. Since your website is the first thing consumers see, it has to make a great first impression. Otherwise, you may find your traffic declining and conversions down. A company website should also reflect your values, experience and industry knowledge.

Website Mistakes

Often times, business owners try to cut corners and design their own website. While this can be a good solution if you’re low on cash, it can also result in a poorly built site. Some business owners have good, keen insights on how their website should be laid out, the right colors to use and other design elements. But often, this is not true. You may be a pro at what you do, but designing a website requires specific skills you may not have. Before you let your cousin’s roommate design your website, or tackle it yourself, check out these 9 web design mistakes that business owners consistently make.

Number One: User-Friendly Design

A great deal of research has gone into the topic of how to create a user-friendly website. User experience (UX) is one of the key elements of a great website. UX focuses on making sure each visitor has the best possible experience on your site. Was the site easy to navigate? Was the information there credible? Did visitors find the content valuable? It’s a complicated process to get each one of these exactly right.

Number Two: Is It Mobile Friendly?

Most web designers will claim to give you a website that is mobile friendly but don’t take their word for it. This is something that every web designer says to potential customers. Instead, check out a few of their past designs and make sure. Each year, the number of people shopping on their smartphone grows and that is slated to continue on into the near future. A poorly executed mobile site could cost you in the end.

Number Three: Professionally Written Content

This is another area where business owners often try to cut corners. Why not let your spouse, brother or one of the kids write your content? Because poorly written content shouts out to the public that you aren’t taking your business seriously. An experienced copywriter knows how to word your content so that it’s easy and fun to read and contains your important keywords.

Number Four: Web Design Layout

There are so many choices when it comes to how your site should be designed. You have unlimited choices about where to place images, content, taglines and other elements. Some people have great instincts about this stuff, while others struggle. A professional web designer should have enough experience to research your business, industry, and competition and give you exactly what will work best for your specific business. Even small changes can make a big difference.

Number Five: Optimized Content

Optimizing your content so that your site comes up on the first page of search engines is every business owner’s dream. But this dream is a process that takes place every day. When you initially place content on the site, it should be professionally written and contain your keywords. Any future content you add should also be optimized. It’s important to review your content every two years to ensure that it’s still relevant and still contains the right keywords.

Number Six: Use of Colors

This is where many individuals fall short. It may seem like a great idea to do the whole site in black and orange but do a bit of research first. The colors you use should be easy on the eyes, they should be enticing, they should not provoke any negative moods. Experiment by checking out a dozen websites in your industry. As you visit the sites, write down one word that you thought of when you first viewed the site.

For instance, one dating site uses pink and blue. While these colors are associated with boys and girls, your target audience is NOT boys and girls; it’s men and women. Adults might find the use of a girly pink color offensive. There are certain shades of pink and blue that might work, but always bear in mind the impact that colors have on shoppers. There’s an entire industry built around what colors to use, whether you have a brick and mortar store or a website. It’s worth your time to learn about this topic.

Number Seven: Too Much Clutter

Some people just don’t get the concept of “too much information.” A messy website with boxes here and there, multiple images and content that rattles on can be a big turnoff for consumers. It’s like an information overload occurs when viewing some websites. You get that feeling of being overwhelmed, so you click away as soon as possible. Once this happens to a visitor, there’s very little likelihood that they’ll ever visit your site again. We often only get one chance to impress.

Number Eight: No Clear Direction

Too often, website visitors land on a page, look around for a few moments and still have no idea what the business is all about. Your value proposition, your mission statement … these things should all be upfront and easy to understand. There’s no excuse for even one person visiting your site, then leaving without knowing who you are and what you do. Sometimes we all enjoy working on riddles and puzzles, but don’t make your potential customers do that or they’ll go someplace else to shop.

Number Nine: Pages Load Too Slowly

Usually, with today’s technology, this is not as much of a problem as it was a few years ago. Typically, if a page loads too slowly, you have too many images, charts, diagrams and other elements that slow down page-loading times. One site that features emeralds from all over the world suffers from slow page-loading. Why? Each page of the site has a dozen photos, uses formatting like bolding and colored text and includes internal and external hyperlinks. While you can do this occasionally on a page, you cannot get away with doing it on every page of your site.

Tips for Success

Look around before you buy. Check out several web designers before a signing a contract. Make sure that some revisions are included in the price. Though you won’t find anyone who will do unlimited revisions, you might be able to negotiate this. Ask for references and check those out. A site should be visually appealing but it should also offer an incredible user experience.

It’s important to find a good web designer that you trust and then allow them to do their job. If you second-guess all their design choices, you may not get the best end result. Be cautious about working with companies in places like Lithuania, Poland and India. Some of these business owners are hard-working individuals who will do a great job. But there’s often a cultural and language barrier that can cripple your efforts to get exactly the website you want.

Hiring an IT Company? Make Sure You Ask These 25 Essential Questions!

Selecting a company to maintain your technology is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. You must find the most competent and reliable IT support provider in your area.

Hiring an IT Company

How do you know if the IT company you’re considering is right for your business?

Some technology companies call themselves the best, but they haven’t kept up their certifications. This is important because the latest certifications validate the skills that their techs learned in their training. With all the cyber threats and new IT solutions today, it’s critical that your IT provider is up to date on their skills.

Don’t just pick a company off the Internet because they’re the closest one to you. Do your research to find out if they are truly qualified to protect your data and meet your organization’s unique IT needs.

The following are some key questions that you should ask any IT provider you’re considering for your business.

  • What are your staff’s qualifications and certifications?
    The right IT company should be able to provide you with information regarding the certifications held by their staff and relay how these will meet your needs.
  • How long have you been providing technology services? They should have a minimum of three years of experience in the service, support, and solutions you require.
  • What Partner Certifications and Technical Specialties do you hold? Ask, for example, if they are certified on Apple devices and Microsoft solutions. Also, ask if they can provide you the latest hardware and software products at the best price.
  • Do you require continuous training of your IT techs? This is the only way to ensure technicians have the most recent certifications.
  • What industries have you worked in?
    Find out if they’ve worked in industries similar to yours. If not, determine if the work they’ve performed for others aligns with your needs.
  • How well do you understand the business applications we use?
    Your business may have specially-built applications to handle needed workflows. Your IT provider should understand how your business technology works and be able to support it.
  • How large is your IT company?
    If they are a small company, you’re more likely to be high on their priority list. However, larger IT companies typically offer a broad knowledge base and capabilities. Plus, their available resources may be more expansive. You must weigh the benefits of each and decide which is best for your business.
  • What kind of customer service can we expect? Do they offer 24/7 service with a live person on the other end of your call, chat or email? Is their help desk staff qualified to address your issues immediately?  If they can’t resolve your problems over the phone or online, how long will it take for a tech to visit your business?
  • Is your onsite service response time backed by a written Service Level Agreement (SLA)? A certified, professional IT company will put what they offer in writing. They should offer managed services with service-level guarantees. What is their “on-time” guarantee? Their SLA should include this as well as information about how you’ll be compensated if they continually show up late, or if they don’t meet the standards detailed in the SLA.
  • What is and isn’t covered by your service contract?In addition to what they do provide, find out what they don’t.  Do they provide fixed-fee services? Are there extra costs, and if so, what are they? Avoid using IT companies that are only interested in fixing what breaks and selling you equipment.  You deserve an IT partner who will work diligently to give you and your employees an IT infrastructure that is secure, reliable, and enhances productivity.
  • Do you offer outsourced CIO Services? Having an Outsourced CIO means your technology will meet your business needs now and into the future. Their CIO should be able to:
  • Develop an understanding of your business and technology infrastructure.
  • Provide recommendations for IT solutions that will promote your success and grow with your business.
  • Construct a Strategic Plan that aligns with your budget.
  • Conduct ongoing evaluations and provide IT performance metrics on a monthly basis.
  • Will you monitor our IT system around the clock? This prevents downtime because they will detect problems early before anything fails.
  • What security services do you offer? How will you protect my interests?Cybercrime is on the rise, and your data must be safeguarded. They must provide up-to-date cybersecurity solutions to protect your computers and network from unauthorized access, malware, phishing, viruses and other forms of cybercrime.
  • Can you monitor our network for cyber intrusions and threats? With all the security incidents today, 24/7 security monitoring is essential.
  • Do you provide Mobile Device Management? When you or your employees use your laptops, tablets or smartphones for business outside of your workplace, they are vulnerable to theft and malware from public Wi-Fi and more. You need the assurance that your data can be remotely wiped from any device if necessary.
  • Do you perform Risk Analyses and Vulnerability Assessments? Your business may require this to stay compliant with government or industry regulations. Plus, this will detect any “holes” in your computer and network security that hackers can take advantage of.
  • Do you provide Backup and Recovery Solutions? You need both an onsite removable backup solution and an offsite one (in the Cloud) to ensure you will have access to your data if it’s stolen, corrupted, accidentally deleted, or damaged due to a flood, fire or another emergency.
  • What’s included in your Disaster Recovery Plan?
    This is extremely important. Be sure to ask about site visits and audits to estimate the recovery time and the impact of a potential failure. Do they have a reliable process in place? How often do they test the disaster recovery plan? Is their staff knowledgeable and ready to react under the worst possible conditions? Also, make sure they can regularly provide the results of disaster recovery tests.
  • Will you provide ongoing Security Awareness Training for our employees? Cybercriminals are constantly developing new techniques to trick your users into downloading malware or releasing confidential information and credentials. It’s critical to conduct recurring and updated security training to ensure your employees recognize these threats and know what to do to prevent exposing your data.
  • Will your IT professionals communicate with our staff in “plain English?” They should be able to relay information in a way you and your employees can comprehend.
  • How do you stay informed about evolving technologies? Do they attend industry events to update their skillsets?
  • Will you migrate us to the Cloud and help us understand how to use cloud solutions? Make sure your IT provider can help you and your employees understand the Cloud, it’s benefits and risks. They should be able to help you find the right cloud services for your unique business needs.
  • Can you offer us different types of cloud solutions? Do they provide:
    • A Public Cloud, so you can securely share space with other clients?
    • A Private Cloud that is dedicated only to your use?
    • A Hybrid Cloud which is a combination of a private and public cloud?
  • How much will cloud migration cost? Migrating your workflows and data to the cloud can provide many benefits, including cost savings, and increased productivity. However, you should ask how much cloud migration will cost, including associated expenses such as maintenance and support.
  • Do you have any case studies or testimonials from existing clients that I can read? Can I contact them? Would you hire a new employee without checking their references? Of course not. So, you should do so with your IT provider. Contact some of their existing clients to find out what you need to know.

 

From Unaware Interns To Evil Executives: How To Say Sayonara With Skill

It’s never easy to terminate an employee. The skill of firing with flair is a sensitive but necessary process that everyone should learn!

Firing an employee

It happens to the best of us. We post an advertisement for an available position on job boards across the Internet. We scour through the thousands (and thousands) of submitted resumes. We painstakingly choose the best candidates (on paper) to bring in for an interview, and we try to pose the questions that should result in the most thought-provoking and inspired responses, giving us the deepest insight into their soul – in about 30 minutes or less. We thank each interviewee dutifully for their time, wonder if we’ll get the perfunctory thank-you note or if their manners will go remiss, and try to decide who makes the cut and gets the job offer. Fast forward to the day we discover the candidate doesn’t stack up to the promises made during the hiring and onboarding process – and it’s time for the HR team to tactfully terminate.

We’ve all been there. The goal is always to build a team that is dedicated, loyal, and earnest – but too many times we encounter flaws with one of these characteristics, and the relationship is no longer, as the saying goes, mutually beneficial. Is your termination process thorough? What steps do you need to take to protect yourself and your business from retaliation in preparation before a potentially hostile departure? Read on to cover all your bases, but leave the exit details to the HR team.

First Things First

Once you have a full grasp of the outstanding projects and deadlines that still need to be met, you can move on to the most pressing matters.

Access: All login credentials

  • For global enterprises, there are large IT teams that oversee just logins and passwords alone – but since you’re reading this, you don’t work for IBM or Apple with a department of staff dedicated solely to current credential maintenance.
    • Network
      • Most organizations require a username and password to access anything related to the organization itself: email, file storage, etc. and this is the first of many credentials that should be addressed to ensure swift and secure measures to protect the company after a termination.
    • Email
      • First, change the password. The terminated party likely has their work email on their smartphone and thus can access their email immediately upon departure from the office. This offers the chance for damage or sabotage, such as deleting emails from their inbox or sending damaging emails to contacts.
      • Maintain the email account by having another party monitor incoming messages. Consider setting up an auto-reply feature to notify senders to the recipient that further communications should be directed to another email address for attention in the future.
      • One task that tends to be overlooked in the immediacy of a departure is the removal of the terminated party from internal distribution lists and notifications.
      • Lastly, if the individual has suspected termination was imminent, they may have deleted emails before the action taking place. There is a brief window when email recovery is still possible, but the standard time frame is 30 days.
    • VPN or remote access
      • If your company allows remote network access, likely through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a service like LogMeIn, a team member likely only needs to have this access set up one time and store their login and password at the remote point of access. The simplest way to prevent future access with this is by changing the affected password. If a platform like LogMeIn is the primary connection method, the administrator will need to be the one to change the user’s access settings.
    • Intranet
      • Typically, an organization uses an Intranet portal to store internal communications or Human Resources information like health insurance details, company directories, staff handbooks, forms and processes, office calendars and holiday schedules, and any other pertinent documentation related to operations. Access removal or password change to a network will often serve to prevent further access to this area, but a quick verification of settings here is still wise.
    • Cloud Storage
      • To prevent anyone from accessing files after termination, and for similar reasons as above – sabotage or deletion – change any access passwords for this portal. It’s very likely that proprietary information on projects, clients, or other sensitive information is stored here.
      • If termination is pending for an individual, it’s wise to preemptively make a back-up of these files and store them elsewhere for later access.
      • If your company uses cloud providers like Dropbox for Business, Microsoft OneNote or SharePoint, your administrator will need to lock the account for security, likely by resetting the password.
    • Data Recovery
      • Files
        • If after the termination and departure is complete you notice files are missing and suspect deletion, time is critical for data recovery.

What else can you do?

Aside from the items listed above, any organization should take every precaution possible to protect themselves in any situation. At some point, a termination is inevitable, and proper handling of the process can be what defines the outcome.

  • Enact security protocols that limit or prevent the use of external devices like hard drives or thumb drives.
  • Prevent team members from removing any proprietary data from the premises. This is almost impossible in the case of a distributed workforce, but you can require all files to be stored in a central repository to minimize risk.
  • It’s worth taking the time to review the terminated party’s outgoing email in “Sent Items” to verify if any messages were forwarded to a personal email address.
  • It’s always challenging to decide if a note to other team members is a good idea, alerting staff to the departure of an individual. Privacy policies typically protect the terminated party, and a perfunctory statement of “Sally Smith is no longer with the company as of April 1, 2018. We wish her well in future endeavors. Any questions, concerns, or communications may be directed to her supervisor, Billy Boss, moving forward” or something very similar, so long as it’s kept generic.

Handling a termination is never easy. The most important aspect of any termination is to protect the company – it sounds harsh, but it’s a fact. Preventing someone who is being fired from stealing information and using it to damage a company or sabotage a brand or person is a challenging task.

With the proper processes in place, anyone can minimize the risk to the company, ensuring survival after saying sayonara!