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Common IT Offboarding Mistakes to Avoid

Although no organization wishes to lay off workers, layoffs sometimes become an unavoidable measure. If not managed adeptly, these layoffs could become a heavier burden on a company, possibly surpassing the initial intent behind the layoff.  As companies lay off thousands of people, they put themselves at risks such as losing critical data, compliance violations or a ruined reputation.

While most IT professionals recognize the value of a well-organized onboarding process, discussions about offboarding are not as common. Research indicates that 71% of organizations lack formal offboarding processes. Many companies keep offboarding simple, so many critical aspects are overlooked and often go unnoticed.

The IT Maze

Most companies overlook the ease with which employees can adopt cloud and SaaS technologies as needed, complicating the offboarding process despite simplifying work during their stay. Consequently, offboarding has become a complex maze that must be navigated carefully. 

In a survey conducted by Beyond Identity, just 21% of companies immediately deactivate employees' accounts, and 2% never do even though this is just one aspect that must be addressed.

IT Offboarding
How soon after offboarding does your company deactivate an employee’s account?

4 Common IT Offboarding Mistakes to Avoid

The traditional IT offboarding, which typically involves disabling AD accounts, forwarding emails, recovering, and wiping the devices, has become outdated. Offboarding in the modern era requires a lot of attention, along with 4 main aspects to be rigorously followed:

  • Get visibility
  • Transfer ownership
  • Stay coordinated
  • Revoke given permissions

1. Navigating Through Uninformed Actions

Offboarding in IT can be challenging due to a limited perspective that only considers authorized cloud and SaaS applications managed through an Identity Provider (IdP) or enterprise Single Sign-On system (SSO). This narrow view fails to acknowledge unsanctioned or "shadow" SaaS assets introduced by employees. These unauthorized accounts, created with simple credentials, can either remain within the organization's domain on a Post-it note or be abandoned, creating a significant security risk.

In addition, the limited range of offboarding often results in a bigger issue - not recognizing all assets that need to be offboarded. A more comprehensive offboarding approach, encompassing all cloud and SaaS accesses, could create difficulties in identifying all the assets that require offboarding.

Solution: Getting Visibility & Automating Asset Management

To better manage offboarding, it's important to take a comprehensive approach that covers both managed and unmanaged cloud and SaaS access. This begins with documenting an employee's access from day one and keeping track of any new cloud or SaaS accounts allocated over time. This creates an updated inventory that is essential for effective offboarding.

Suggested Article: Monitoring SaaS Adoption

Automating the process of discovering and managing assets is crucial for efficiency. By using an automated SaaS system for asset discovery and management, the time and effort required for offboarding can be significantly reduced. This approach is necessary in today's digital landscape where new SaaS assets are frequently introduced within organizations.

Automating SaaS Discovery

Automation not only increases visibility but also helps establish a strong understanding of the IT landscape, providing a secure and efficient offboarding process.

2. Neglecting Ownership Tracking of Business-Critical Assets‍

In the fast-paced world of modern organizations, it's easy for the transfer of ownership for critical assets to slip through the cracks, especially during the offboarding process. This oversight can cause business disruptions, orphaned accounts, and even make resources inaccessible.

An orphaned account is a user account without a valid owner that can grant access to corporate systems, services, and applications.

Manually identifying asset ownership among multiple users, apps, and accounts is both inefficient and prone to errors. The inability to quickly and accurately transfer ownership of these business-critical assets is a significant flaw in many offboarding processes.

Solution: Cultivating a Centralized Overview of Users, Apps, and Accounts

Addressing the ownership tracking maze necessitates a centralized view of the IT environment, encompassing all users, apps, and accounts. The goal is to have a centralized system where business-critical assets are clearly mapped out.

In May 2023, two ex-Tesla employees violated the company's IT security and data protection policies by sharing confidential information with a media outlet.

Such a view can be a goldmine of information during offboarding process as it provides clear insights into who owns what. In this case, essentials won’t be left in limbo, averting potential business disruptions or no critical asset gets orphaned. It eliminates the inefficiencies and inaccuracies associated with manual tracking, making the offboarding process streamlined and foolproof.

3. Insufficient Coordination with Business Owners

Managing the offboarding process can be challenging due to the involvement of various stakeholders, such as line supervisors, human resources, operations teams, and business application owners. Decentralization of IT administration, driven by business-led IT, adds to coordination complexity. This decentralization expands the scope of people involved in offboarding, including those responsible for managing budgets and licenses for SaaS applications.

Solution: Streamlined Stakeholder Engagement and Automated Processes

By addressing stakeholder engagement and introducing automation, organizations can significantly mitigate the challenges posed by insufficient coordination during the offboarding process. This will streamline offboarding and lead to cost savings by preventing wasted SaaS spend.

  1. Identification and Engagement of Relevant Stakeholders:

Implement a robust SaaS security and governance platform to accurately identify and engage the right stakeholders, ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities.

  1. Streamlining and Automation:

Adopt a centralized platform that supports automated workflows to streamline and manage offboarding tasks efficiently, minimizing manual intervention and reclaiming licenses promptly to reduce wasted SaaS spend.

4. Unrevoked App-to-App OAuth Integrations

Failure to revoke OAuth access granted between SaaS applications during the offboarding process can lead to fragmented data, business disruption, and increased risk. Employees who have been offboarded may still possess access to sensitive data and operational systems, posing significant security and operational risks.

Solution: Continuous Monitoring

To smoothly transition during the offboarding process without data fragmentation or business disruptions, it's imperative to follow a methodical approach to revoking OAuth grants.

Regular reviews and continuous monitoring of OAuth grants can help identify any overlooked access and allow prompt revocation, even post-offboarding.

Last Words

Offboarding can be compared to navigating through a maze, as it can be more complex than it seems. However, with the right tool, it can be conducted in a simple and secure manner. Register today and effectively offboard users within your SaaS environments by seamlessly identifying their access privileges and permissions and map all related accounts that are linked to an employee's accounts and directory apps.

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