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Controlling Critical Data After Employee Turnover


What do you think of when you hear the word ‘cybersecurity’? If you’re like most legal professionals, you’re probably thinking about installing protective programs and secure servers to protect your firm’s data from outside threats. But, what happens when a potential data breach comes from inside your office? If you fail to control critical data during employee turnover, that’s exactly what can happen!

In this article, we’re going to take a look at internal cybersecurity practices for the legal industry and we’ll share some tips to help you reduce your risk during periods of transition.

Let’s get started!

Focus on Prevention

When it comes to data security, the best defense is a good offense! Your law firm likely puts quite a bit of time and money into preventing hackers from gaining access to your work. Unfortunately, in 2022, outwardly focused cybersecurity isn’t enough. From client lists to proprietary roadmaps to pricing information, there’s a wealth of competitive information that you have to secure. Departing employees could be tempted to take their knowledge with them unless you develop a strategy to safeguard confidential information.

Examine the Risks

The first step in developing a data control strategy is to assess areas of exposure. You need to understand who has access to each category of information and whether their access includes the ability to transfer or remove the data. For example, if your organization uses a password-sharing tool such as LastPass, it’s possible that employees have been granted temporary access to certain technologies – however, they may be unable to directly view or share the passwords. Work with your IT department to create a data map for company asset assignments, information storage structures, and role-based access controls.

Create a Departure Program

Losing a valued employee is never easy, but you can minimize your risks by creating a “departure program” that supports data security. In some cases, employees may not wish to obtain the data for themselves, but instead, they may simply destroy the information upon their departure. Create a departure program that expressly warns against data deletion and clearly outlines the policies if such deletion occurs.

Using the data map you’ve created in the previous step, you’ll be able to review the information each outgoing employee could access. From there, you can customize the departure process based on unique areas of exposure.

Of course, you should never forget the basics! One of the simplest and most effective ways to uncover data theft is to check the departing employee’s email for data exfiltration. Employees who email key files to their personal accounts may try to cover their tracks by deleting the inbox records, so it’s a good idea to perform a more thorough email analysis.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading!  We hope we’ve been able to share some useful tips and strategies you can use to protect critical data during employee turnover. While technology can be a powerful tool when it is used correctly, it’s up to each individual law firm to enforce procedures and policies that ensure confidential information is protected. If you enjoyed this article, let us know on social media!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. At First Legal, we’re here for you from File Thru Trial™!

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