Security Strategy, Plan, Budget, Security Staff Acquisition & Development

As layoffs and resignations continue: five reasons to automate employee offboarding

Automated offboarding

The unrelenting pace of tech layoffs has caused CIOs and CISOs to struggle with managing employee offboarding processes across hybrid work environments. Automated offboarding can fix broken processes while reducing operational inefficiencies and IT risk. Let’s look at how.

It’s widely known that businesses are experiencing record employee terminations, whether voluntary or because of layoffs. In 2021, there was a 47% average turnover rate. And in 2022, 51% of employers expected job cuts, while 40% of employees planned to quit their jobs. Given record levels of employee departures, CIOs and CISOs would do well to look at their employee offboarding process.

Modern offboarding processes are problematic because they’re often deployed through a patchwork of manual and error-prone workflows involving multiple teams and handoffs that navigate in and out of numerous point tools. With layoffs and voluntary resignations becoming the norm, manual offboarding processes are no longer sustainable. Employees aren’t being properly offboarded, which slows the pace of business, and also creates security and audit concerns while increasing operating costs. Companies that have prioritized the automation of their offboarding processes have discovered these five benefits that more than justify the effort:

  • Reduced security vulnerabilities.

Not all data loss gets stolen by unknown, external bad actors. Insider threats — data stolen by disgruntled ex-employees — represent another significant cybersecurity risk to all businesses. According to one survey, 12% of employees take sensitive intellectual property with them upon leaving an organization. And without proper termination processes in place, malicious ex-employees — many of whom know where to find and exploit sensitive data — can leave with company data or with access to company networks after their departure. For instance, not properly terminating access to applications or cloud instances leaves companies at risk of ex-employee theft. According to another survey, 42% of organizations reported at least 5% instances of unauthorized access to SaaS and cloud resources after employee departure. If the offboarding process is automated, then IT can rely on software to perform the required tasks and send notifications when tasks are not properly completed.

  • Enhanced audit and compliance readiness.

Anyone working in IT knows the drill: the company announces an audit and IT resources scramble to fill out logs in a desperate attempt to pass the audit. Consequently, organizations devote on average 58 working days each quarter on compliance audits and spend $3.5 million each year on compliance activities. Validating that employees were offboarded per regulatory requirements becomes a major audit activity. And when this process gets performed manually, it becomes much more difficult to ensure all offboarding tasks were indeed completed correctly. By automating the employee offboarding process through software-defined and implemented workflows, the security team can make the logs available to auditors with a few clicks.

  • Automation driven cost savings.

According to one survey, 52% of organizations handle repetitive IT service management tasks manually — tasks such as user management, employee onboarding / offboarding, and employee job changes. We all know that letting computers do the work costs less than using manual labor. Another 38% of organizations have implemented some level of automation, but only through an expensive patchwork of custom-built scripts and APIs. To truly reduce costs, an automated offboarding solution needs to use a low- to no-code user interface to build software-defined, automated workflows without requiring hard to maintain custom work or expensive professional services.

  • Improved IT employee satisfaction.

With employees resigning at record rates, the CIO also needs to prioritize delivering exceptional IT employee experiences. A common complaint from recent graduates ­— who spent $100K to $200K to get a university IT degree — is that they found their IT job painfully boring because they spend their days closing out tickets, resetting user passwords, and updating Active Directory. By automating manual tasks, IT staff can devote their valuable skillsets to deliver more strategic, value-added activities to the business.

  • Increased endpoint reclamation.

Improved endpoint reclamation has become another area where an automated offboarding process can deliver substantial budget windfalls. In 2022, 49% of companies lost at least 5% of corporate-issued assets during employee offboarding. Automated offboarding can ensure all appropriate stakeholders are notified of what assets need they need to collect from the ex-employees, send shipping labels to ex-employees to simplify asset returns, and send notifications when assets have not been returned.

Given increased termination rates and its inherent data privacy, security and financial risks, automating secure offboarding processes has become a strategic business imperative for modern enterprises. Relying on manual employee offboarding processes will no longer suffice in this modern era of high employee turnover. Management needs a higher-level strategic view into the state of employee offboarding.

A new category of applications called Enterprise Technology Management or ETM, has emerged as a potential solution. ETM applications promise to automate processes that span siloed management tools and touch a company’s broad technology landscape, such as employee offboarding, while also providing unprecedented intelligence regarding the status and nature of employee offboarding activities. By automating the offboarding process, ETM applications offer a playbook for automating manual business processes that ultimately bring the CIO one step closer to running an autonomous IT operation.

Arthur Lozinski, co-founder and CEO, Oomnitza

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