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How to keep data from leaving with a departing employee

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Protocols can help reduce data risks when an employee is leaving a company.

In brief

  • Former employees who take data with them – maliciously or not – pose a threat to companies.
  • Protocols will help confirm whether a company is prepared for this situation.
  • These efforts can reduce the risk of company information being disclosed.

Among the biggest threats to companies are their recently departed employees. Former employees can take data with them upon departure through printed documents, sending documents to a personal email or cloud account, messaging about company information or even having access to cloud accounts after their last day.

It’s not always malicious. The employee might preserve a copy of data they designed or implemented because they believe they have a right to it. If a company allows the employees to use their personal devices to conduct business, a former employee may not realize they are still in possession of company data after their employment.

Despite cautious efforts, inside actors may still be able to take privileged company data with them. Having protocols already in place will help confirm that your company is prepared for any situation involving an employee’s departure — while reducing the risk of a former employee disclosing company data to a competitor.

A proactive approach will help your organization respond to complex incidents that may have breached your security. This can help reduce the amount of time a network is exposed, mitigate the damage or data loss that results, and increase the probability of catching the perpetrator.


Companies can implement procedures such as data analysis to prevent departing employees from taking privileged company data with them.

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