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Why Employee Lifecycle Management Is Critical for Small Businesses

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When you hire an employee, do you have a seamless process for onboarding their data into the system? How do you handle credentials? Do you have any form of access control?

On the other hand, what happens when an employee moves on? How quickly do you revoke their credentials and remove their access from the system?

Too many companies lack a solid process for employee lifecycle management. This leaves them at a greater risk of cybersecurity attacks.

Here are five reasons why proper employee lifecycle management is critical to the security of small businesses.

1. It Protects Confidential Information

When onboarding a high-level employee, you’re trusting that employee with access to important information. Whether that information is employee records, personal health information, or client data, it needs to be protected. This means implementing access control that’s as granular as possible.

Additionally, when employees are offboarded, it’s important to immediately revoke their credentials. Failing to do so means that former employees will continue to have access – and could potentially access and distribute confidential data.

In order to best protect yourself and your clients from the backlash of stolen confidential information, your employee lifecycle management program needs to include the immediate revocation of employee credentials upon the end of employment.

By waiting to pull credentials, you put both your information and your client’s confidentiality at risk.

2. It Can Help to Prevent Cyberattacks

Have you ever let an employee go on poor terms? Maybe the termination took them by complete surprise, or maybe they feel their severance package won’t be able to support their family. Jobs carry emotive attachment; that kind of economic, personal, and career-related strain can cause terminated employees to lash out.

What you don’t want is for them to lash out at you.

If they choose to – if they’re both ill-intentioned and technologically savvy – they could use their credentials to compromise your assets themselves and cost you thousands with some well-deployed ransomware.

It may sound far-fetched, but it’s the reality. According to IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute, malicious insiders or criminals caused 47 percent of all breaches in 2017.

The best practice is to revoke an employee’s credentials and their access to anything related to your company immediately following the end of their employment. That way they don’t have time for any nefarious activities.

3. Poor Lifecycle Management Means More Ways In

Let’s look at it a different way. Inactive credentials can easily be lost in your system without an employee using them.

Outdated passwords or usernames leave systems more vulnerable to hacking – there are simply more accounts that can serve as ways in, meaning that the odds of malicious actors uncovering them are higher.

The bottom line is that an abundance of active, outdated accounts leaves businesses more vulnerable to malware and hacking.

4. Good Employee Lifecycle Management Saves on Costs

Onboarding employees cost money. While the cost of an email inbox can seem relatively small (as little as $5 per inbox), there are other hidden costs that you may not notice at first.

Was that employee taking up space on software with limited user access credentials? For example, many CRM tools have a limited number of user accounts available. If you use too many you have to pay more; if you have fewer, you can pay less.

When you don’t check user registrations when offboarding employees, you could be costing your company money. What about the $5 their inbox costs you? Or the price of the space for their old username and password on costly and necessary software?

Removing credentials from all of the software applications that your company uses doesn’t just protect you from cyber attacks. It saves you money as well.

5. Disorganized Employee Lifecycle Management Is a Risk and a Logistical Pain

Have you ever gone into the backend of a website only to find dozens of different user profiles, management settings that don’t make sense, or administrators who no longer work with that website?

A disorganized website is a cybersecurity risk. What happens if you need to update security settings, but the only person with those credentials no longer works at your office? Part of your employee lifecycle management process should include organizing backend data for that employee.

Were they set as an administrator on several websites? Make sure that the appropriate status gets passed on to the next knowledgeable employee who will be in charge of the website.

If a user no longer requires access to a website, remove it. The more users that have access to a website, the more chances there are of a hacker getting ahold of credentials and wreaking havoc on the site.

Make Employee Lifecycle Management a Priority

Employee lifecycle management control is critical for small businesses – and it’s too often overlooked. It shouldn’t be.

Putting proper protocols in place can greatly improve your business’s cybersecurity.

Get More Cybersecurity Tips with This Ebook

Want more cybersecurity info? Download the free ebook, “Top Ten Need-To-Know Cybersecurity Tips for SMBs.”

It’s packed with knowledge that’ll help you to protect your company from a cyber attack in all facets of daily operations management – with everything from creating a cybersecurity policy to how to perform a systems audit.

Ready to learn? Download the ebook here.