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Your organization strives to hire honest, trustworthy and ethical professionals. But even if you complete thorough background checks during the hiring process and work alongside someone for several years without issue, there’s no excuse for lax employee offboarding.

Failing to exercise all necessary security precautions when an employee leaves your company can be an expensive error in judgment. Yet, it happens all the time — largely because offboarding processes have become so complex and convoluted, involving everyone from HR and IT to facilities managers. With so many steps and responsible parties, it’s almost inevitable someone is going to drop the ball.

Is the mere thought of employee offboarding giving you a headache? To help, we’ve outlined three of the most critical employee offboarding mistakes, and how you can simplify the process.

Mistake #1: Not Collecting All Equipment Immediately

Whether it’s a company issued laptop, phone or key fob, be sure to collect all equipment before an employee exits the building on their last day. Allowing an exiting employee to keep these items — even just over a weekend — means providing unauthorized personnel direct access to valuable data and resources. A disgruntled ex-employee (or one leaving for a competitor) could cause quite a bit of damage with this sort of access.

Mistake #2: Not Clearing Company Data from Personal Devices

If you allow employees to use their own personal devices at work, there’s a good chance employees also have sensitive company data — or at least a way to access it — on those devices too. From email and client contact lists to internal process documents and other confidential information, if this information leaves the organization on a former employee’s smartphone, it could be easily leaked.

As part of offboarding, have employees meet with IT admins to wipe this data. Also, be sure to outline your BYOD policy in your employee handbook so there are no surprises.

Mistake #3: Failing to Keep Track of the Software Employees Have Access to

Do you know how many software licenses your company has? Furthermore, do you know how manyHow many employees have access to your products? employees have access to the SaaS products you’ve purchased? The larger a company grows, the more challenging it is to keep up with who has an account on each of your dozens of tools.

But failing to track employee software access also means forgetting to terminate accounts when employees leave the company. Depending on the SaaS product, this could also mean leaving access to a powerful platform and highly valuable data in the hands of a non-employee for several weeks or months. Because each login represents another entry point, keeping track of software access is crucial to your company’s data security.

If you don't think a former employee could do much with a login, there are a few ex-employee horror stories to convince you otherwise. For example, consider McLane Advanced Technologies — an organization that lost their payroll files when a disgruntled ex-employee logged in and wiped them. Or the case of a fired employee who blasted the email list of her former employer — Richmond, VA wine shop Once Upon a Vine — by simply accessing the company's cloud newsletter service.

From data and financials to reputation, failing to cut former employees access to your software can have disastrous consequences.

Easily Improve Your Employee Offboarding

The best way to simplify your employee offboarding process is to be proactive. Keep an up-to-date inventory of all devices issued to employees throughout their tenure with the company, identify and document your BYOD policy and use a SaaS management solution to keep track of your SaaS licenses and employee logins. This way, when a team member leaves the organization, your team can quickly and easily complete the employee offboarding process with as few headaches as possible.

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