Receiving a resignation letter from your IT manager can set off the panic alarm – and for good reason. Most organizations rely heavily on their IT people to keep their business secure and operational, and picking up where they left off isn’t easy – especially if you don’t gather the necessary information before they go. However, it doesn’t have to be a disaster. This guide will give you the tools necessary to secure your business after losing key IT resources, while preventing too much power residing with one person.
Your former employee may not be leaving on bad terms, but it’s still essential that you remove their access to accounts and files. If you leave their accounts and passwords active, you’re leaving your network and data at risk. This is especially true for IT staff, who typically have privileged administrator access to your most vital systems and data.
Be thorough in disabling all their digital access points, including email, cloud accounts, remote logins to company assets, other third-party software, and VPN/IP addresses they may have used previously. As well as changing the passwords of all administrative, employee and generic accounts they had access to, you should disable any email forwarding and remove any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone call forwarding they have in place.
Before any IT person leaves, it is essential that you have your documentation in order. By doing this, you can ensure that you maintain access to everything that keeps the business running smoothly and securely.
It’s best practice to have all of your IT networks and configurations listed and stored on an encrypted server that you keep control over. This should include details of administrator login credentials, a software and hardware inventory, software licenses, hardware warranties, network diagrams, license keys, and encryption keys.
Your IT person should have also kept a log of previous issues and how they were resolved, including break-fix support desk incidents and larger-scale preventative projects. This forms an important part of your IT contingency plan as it will provide their replacement with an understanding of existing problems to be aware of.
Finally, be sure to ask for documentation of general IT processes, such as how and when to upgrade certain systems. This will ensure that you are able to maintain operations once your team member has left.
If you do not already know how to handle basic IT tasks, such as how to change passwords, how to access and maintain hardware, how to log into and update software, and how to monitor security alerts, you should ask your IT person to teach you before their notice period is up.
Once you understand how to carry out these tasks, you can refer to the process documentation mentioned in step 2 as a reminder. It is good practice to maintain this basic knowledge, not only because it helps in this scenario, but also because it is invaluable when your IT staff are on leave.
It’s essential to know how and where your data backups are being stored before the person in charge of them leaves your organization. While it is likely that your backups are automated, it is important to understand how to configure this process and how to restore your backups when needed.
The above should be part of a fully-tested business continuity plan that ensures you can restore business operations quickly if any failures occur. It is essential that you maintain routine backups in order to facilitate swift recovery in the event of data breach or loss. Be sure to ask your departing staff member for details of this recovery plan so you are prepared to react in the event of a cyber attack, data loss event, or natural disaster.
Although someone leaving may be a major headache, it can also be the perfect opportunity to reevaluate how your business IT operates. If you have become too reliant on a single IT “gatekeeper”, with fundamental information not being disseminated throughout the business, it may be time to look at other IT management options.
Work with your remaining IT employees to fill in any gaps or call a Managed IT Provider like a Network Doctor to help. Ideally, you should have a contingency plan for losing IT people before you hire them. By carrying out a Technology Roadmap Assessment, we can provide a clear picture of your current strengths and weaknesses to ensure a smooth transition and continued security. Switching to Managed IT Services is also a great way to make sure that no single IT expert has too much influence over your business.
If you’re in the unfortunate position where your IT guy has quit and your contingency plan has come up short, then there’s no need to panic. If you need help, Network Doctor is only a call away. Contact us today for a no-obligation chat.