Around 47 million US workers quit their jobs last year. Some found new positions, moved into different careers, or retired early. They all left behind employers who had to deal with the inevitable fallout of losing staff.

When an employee hands in their notice or leaves abruptly, employers aren't just tasked with finding someone to fill their shoes. They also have to ensure the employee makes a clean exit - transferring their files, closing their accounts, and protecting company data.

For many companies, employee offboarding isn't just a headache; it's also a potential security nightmare. But it doesn't have to be. With the right tools and proactive planning, offboarding can be a secure and streamlined process that doesn't disrupt your business.

Key concerns when offboarding employees

For most employers, the two biggest concerns around offboarding are data loss and data protection.

Data loss prevention

Delete a staff member's account before you've saved or transferred over their files and the information is lost forever. In some cases, this could be as minor as losing a client's contact details - frustrating but easily rectified. In the worst-case scenario, it could mean accidentally deleting reams of sensitive information that you rely on for billing, risk management, or legal purposes.

Longstanding employees who've been with your company for years, possibly even decades, have accumulated a wealth of historical data in that time. It's impossible to know how much of that is truly valuable, but chances are there's a lot of information that's very pertinent to your current and future business.

Preserving your data helps you carry on where your employee left off, picking up their projects and allocating their workload so you can maintain your daily operations. It's also helpful in terms of training their replacement. As older workers age out or senior employees move on, companies suffer from knowledge loss. You can help prevent that drain by carefully storing their notes and processes so that no team member becomes irreplaceable.

Data protection

Data loss can happen inadvertently through mismanaged or incomplete offboarding processes, but it can also occur deliberately. If you've fired an employee or they've quit because of a grievance, there's always the possibility that they'll steal information or delete it to cause as much chaos as they can before they leave.

A recent survey from Beyond Identity revealed that 83% of respondents continued accessing their work accounts after leaving their job, and 56% used that access to harm their employers. When an employee had been fired, the proportion of those who had intentionally caused harm increased to 70%. 

Preventing data loss and keeping your intellectual property safe means more than just changing your ex-employee's password or backing up your data. It means creating a well-managed offboarding process that provides end-to-end protection and complete peace of mind.

Creating An Employee Offboarding Checklist

An employee walks into your office and tells you they're leaving. What steps do you take to ensure you're following offboarding best practices?

  1. Suspend their account
  2. Change or invalidate their authentication tokens
  3. Reset any security features they've set up on their account
  4. Transfer their data - either to a shared Drive or to another account
  5. Migrate their email - either to another employee or a Google group
  6. Delete the account

This can all be done from within your own IT department, but if you want to really streamline your offboarding consider using Google Workspace management tool, Patronum

This application automates the various offboarding steps, so admins don't have to think about a thing. The program automatically revokes users' access privileges when they leave your company, changing or deleting their passwords, wiping their devices, and migrating their data. 

Offboarding with Google Vault

Organizations on Google Workspace Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise plus – you have an ultra-secure archiving solution built into your suite of tools - Google Vault. 

What is Google Vault?

Google Vault is your secret weapon for secure and reliable offboarding. As the name suggests, it operates like a vault, capturing everything your employees do across Workspace and safely retaining it, so you don't have to worry about data breaches when they leave.

Vault allows employers to retain, hold, search, and export all Google Workspace data, including Gmail messages, Drive files, Google Meet recordings, and more. 

Depending on how you've configured it, Vault can continually archive every piece of content created in your company's Workspace. This ensures it's all there when you want it - even if your soon-to-be-former employee deletes their data and clears their trash before walking out the door.

The benefits of using Google Vault

Archive licenses

Google Vault is a crucial part of the offboarding process because it doesn't just collect and store your data while your employees are working. It also allows organizations to preserve their data once an employee leaves and their account is suspended.  

Once you know your team member is resigning, you can assign an Archive License to their account. Archived users can't access their accounts, and their Workspace license can be reassigned to another user within 24 hours.

As long as you don't delete your archived user, Vault will hang onto all their data as long as you need it.


Vault is primarily an eDiscovery and data governance tool. All the data it collects can be sorted and searched so you can find anything instantly, from a decades-old email chain between a client and a former employee to the annual report created last month. 

This is especially beneficial for companies in industries that require stringent data collection, management, and confidentiality. These could include law firms that need to keep track of client communications and case documentation, financial management groups that handle large volumes of sensitive payment information, or IT developers who create their proprietary software. Vault provides a searchable paper trail to cover all liabilities.

Affordable pricing

Whether you've 10 employees or 100, Vault can benefit your business, but it doesn't have to be a substantial investment, thanks to the different pricing models available.

If you want to retain a user's data in Vault, that user has to have both a Google Workspace license and a Vault license. Vault is included in Business Plus and Enterprise licenses but can also be purchased as an add-on license for Frontline or Enterprise Starter accounts.

If you're using Google Workspace already, it's often more cost-effective to upgrade your user licenses rather than investing in a new third-party data governance solution that then has to be integrated into your Workspace. 

As part of the Google ecosystem, Vault is easily installed alongside your existing Google applications and gets to work straight away for streamlined archiving and data protection.

Easy to configure

Google Vault isn't a new application. It's been around for a while but, as with all Google solutions, it's continually upgraded to enhance the user experience.

In 2020, Google gave the app a facelift with a new interface that made it easier to navigate and configure. Even those unfamiliar with the app will find it easy to move around the homepage, setting and tweaking their retention rules and other custom settings.

Add-on extras

When you get Vault as part of your Business Plus or Enterprise licenses, you get extra data protection goodies thrown in as part of the package.

Business Plus also gets advanced endpoint management - a solution that securely locks down remote devices and workstations to minimize risk and enhance your company's cyber hygiene. 

Enterprise offers more advanced security solutions with enterprise endpoint management, Data Loss Protection (DLP), and data regions (allowing you to export Vault data to a specific location).

Optimized offboarding for today's challenges

The rise of remote working, ever-evolving cyber threats, and the Great Resignation are creating the perfect storm for employers, making it more critical to lock down their offboarding processes.

A Google Cloud Premier Partner, UpCurve Cloud has helped hundreds of businesses streamline and enhance their Workspace toolkit for ultra-secure offboarding. Technical Program Manager Payton Britton recommends making Google Vault a part of that process and works closely with clients to ensure they're comfortable with every aspect of the tool.

"We try to teach our clients how to configure and use Google Vault rather than do it for them. We make recommendations about how they can set it up and walk them through it, but we show them how to do it themselves, so they don't have to call us every time they need to run a report or find something."

Technical Engineer Jared Lohsl says Vault is one of the best ways companies can safeguard their data and adds: "With more and more users moving to the cloud and working remotely, tools like Google Vault have become invaluable for businesses."

To find out more about Google Vault and other Google solutions, contact UpCurve's experts. We can help you elevate to the cloud without a hitch, enhancing your workflows, security, and overall efficiency. Reach out to the team today!

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