I was listening to the latest In The Trenches earlier today, and found myself nodding my head in agreement when Kevin was talking about knowing someone’s being let go and having to disable accounts as it’s happening. It is easily one of the worst parts of the job. It’s a sickening feeling knowing someone’s going to be fired before they do, and having to continue to go about your day as if nothing’s happening. As a professional you do what needs to be done, as a human it makes for an uncomfortable situation, and can turn into something that comes between you and your users if not handled well.
On the other hand, after I left my last job, and was still doing consulting work for them, I witnessed the absolute worst way to handle a firing that I could have possibly imagined. They had no IT person, so the whole “disable accounts before they come out of the meeting” concept was out of the question anyway. Not that it mattered. First off, they posted an on-line ad for his job on an industry-specific job board before they had told him he was being fired. Someone I know who works in that industry saw the ad, and called me, knowing that I was still doing work for them, to get the scoop. I didn’t really have any. In turn, I called my former boss when I saw the ad, to see if I needed to come by that evening and disable accounts. I didn’t, because the person in question hadn’t actually been fired yet. Oops!
To make matters worse, when they finally did get around to telling this person they were being fired, rather than offer them a 30 day severance package, (It was an executive-level position)they simply let him continue working for 30 days. That’s right, they created a situation where the rest of the staff, including people who reported directly to him, knew he’d been fired, but still had to work with him. He had access to all the data and technical resources of the organization, he was still allowed to communicate and negotiate with vendors, among other things, for 30 days after he’d been fired.
All of this when they had no IT person on staff to even consider putting in some security precautions.
The sad thing is, I don’t think overlooking the dangers to network security like this is all that uncommon in the small business world. I’m willing to bet it happens every day.