Prioritizing Information Security During Company Layoffs: 3 Tips

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced tens of millions of people into unemployment. In the United States, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 3.8 percent in February—among the lowest ever recorded post World War II—to 13 percent in May.

The US government estimates the number might have been even higher—hovering at 16 percent. Even the unemployment rate during the Great Recession (December 2007 to June 2009) peaked at 10.6 percent (January 2010)!

Company layoffs are never an ideal situation, but how well they’re handled matters greatly. Insider cybersecurity threats become a major issue during company layoffs. According to a report by leading security organization, Tessian, over a third of respondents admitted to taking company documents with them after leaving a job.

In this piece, we provide useful tips on how organizations can prioritize information security during company layoffs.

Update and Adjust Remote Employee Planning

Since the pandemic has forced many employees to work from home, you may need to lay off employees who aren’t even physically present in the office.

For some organizations and their security managers, this may be uncharted territory. Without a physical IT department office, you’ll need to revise the process regarding the returning of all devices and equipment handed to employees during the first phase of COVID-19 remote work, such as USB drives, door badges, mobile phones, and laptops.

Add an IP Clause in Employment Contracts

Prioritizing information security practices to mitigate threats during layoffs means being proactive before you even hire employees. To do that, you’ll need to add an IP clause using specific language regarding how confidential data must be treated during and after an employee’s tenure at the company.

Make IP Compliance Training Regular

All company employees must be regularly trained on best practices for handling the company’s sensitive data. Make it a point to keep a regularly maintained inventory of all devices and equipment issued during each employee’s tenure. Make sure to review all of these details during the exit interview and switch over all accounts to your manager. Once privileges are offboarded, ensure they’re turned off.

Determining the kind of robust information security measures you’ll need to undertake to secure sensitive company information during layoffs is best done with the help of a certified information security manager and cybersecurity consultant.

Manoharan Mudaliar is a leading cybersecurity professional offering IT security consultancy services to numerous organizations from various industries. He is renowned for leveraging innovative security solutions driven with a passion for helping clients achieve their business goals.

Get in touch with Manoharan Mudaliar for more information.

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