Automating User Offboarding to Reduce Security Risks and Costs

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Automating User Offboarding to Reduce Security Risks and Costs

In today’s volatile economic environment, as costs increase and budgets contract, a number of companies are preparing for layoffs meaning leaders will once again turn to IT for help.

One of the most common offboarding oversights is neglecting to revoke access. However, increased SaaS adoption makes timely offboarding ever more vital. Delays create significant security risks, particularly if an employee doesn’t leave voluntarily. One former Cisco employee cost the company around $2.4 million after connecting into its AWS-hosted systems and deleting virtual machines, five months after leaving!

Cross department coordination is key, and a clear process will help everyone to understand their role. Managed correctly, you can aid the business in ensuring specific knowledge, such as intellectual property (IP) owned by the user, is not lost. Other benefits include:

  • Asset reuse to aid cost reduction. If you can track and reclaim assets from offboarded employees, you may be able to redistribute them to existing users with older equipment.

This might also help you navigate hardware requirements for your enterprise Windows 11 upgrade, saving costs and minimizing the impact of supply chain disruption.

  • Reduced risks. Ensure valuable company assets are recovered and access permissions are rescinded immediately to prevent exposure of sensitive data.
  • Increased compliance. Use documentation on completed workflows –g., receipt of reclaimed equipment – for audit and compliance purposes.

Collaborate to build your process

To reflect the coordination required across the business you should work with HR and other department leaders to gain process buy-in. Impress on them the need for timely communications and gain information on regulations governing the business, for example any rules on how soon access permissions should be rescinded.

Document your IT workflows, such as when workflows should be triggered, task owners, and how to manage those tasks, including:

  • Accessing a list of user assets.
  • Communicating with the user and business teams to confirm those assets and other IP and details of their role in returning them.
  • Having a process in place to ensure that files are transferred to a manager to ensure key data isn’t lost.
  • Removing access permissions.
  • Managing returned assets (look to your ITAM process to inform this).

The challenges ahead

With just around a third of IT tasks automated, even with a clear process in place, you are still relying on overworked teams to manage their part of the process in a timely way. And for IT, managing offboarding workflows manually eats up valuable time and increases IT labor costs. It also increases the probability of errors – e.g., a device being wiped before the transfer of IP is made, a delay in revoking access, or lack of asset visibility meaning equipment is lost. If your organization makes sudden layoffs, are you equipped to handle large offboarding volumes without creating potential security risks?

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Use automation to slash offboarding time, cost, and risk

Using a digital platform conductor (DPC), a tool cited in four Gartner hype cycles, you can automate offboarding processes.

A DPC automatically integrates data from all your IT and business systems, giving you a clear view of all assets associated with an end user. Armed with this information, you can then use a DPC to automate offboarding workflows. For example:

  • Employee exit dates trigger automated communications to the user to explain the process of returning assets.
  • Courier requests are automated with tracking number generated and assigned to a user.
  • Offboarding date (or other pre-defined date) triggers automatic deprovisioning of access permissions (and associated workflows).
  • Assets are tracked and confirmation of return (via courier tracking details) automatically updates relevant systems.
  • Assets enter new automated ITAM workflows based on predefined hardware attributes in the DPC (reuse and redistribute, return to lease vendor, place on legal hold, or send to ITAD vendor).

With all workflows digitally recorded, you can easily access reports for audit trails.

ReadyWorks is a digital platform conductor. Book a demo to understand how ReadyWorks can automate user offboarding.

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