Departed Employees (Office 365 Account Management)

It is a fact of life for every organization that employees leave the company. Whether it is the decision of the employee or the employer, the impact on IT is the same. The employee’s access to company networks must be removed and the employee’s data must be dealt with taking into consideration legal and regulatory requirements as well as data value. As you design your process for dealing with departing employee Office 365 accounts and data, there are a few important decisions for you to make.

First, assuming that you want to re-use the Office 365 license in a reasonable amount of time (e.g. 30 days); you will need to remove the Office 365 license and delete the user account. Keep in mind that after 30 days, the entire Office 365 account and all of its data will be removed forever.

  • You can save the user’s mailbox data easily; a highly recommended process especially if the user is part of a litigation matter or could be part of future litigation.
  • You can place the user’s mailbox on Litigation Hold using the Exchange Admin Center. This releases the Office 365 license and preserves the mailbox indefinitely or for a period of time you specify.
  • Keep in mind that you should talk to your legal department and get written approval for everything you plan on doing, especially if the legal department recommends deletion without preservation.

Second, consider how to preserve the user’s file data and other non-email work data not contained in the mailbox. For OneDrive, OneNote, Skype, Yammer and SharePoint, the data has to be preserved manually, if you decide to preserve it at all. But also be aware that at the end of 30 days it will be deleted if you remove their account.

Next, what should you do with the departed user’s laptop or desktop? Many companies plan on re-imaging the disk drive after a specific period of time to use with a new employee or some organizations simply lock it in a locked file cabinet for a period of time – usually based on the statute of limitations for filing wrongful termination lawsuits. If you re-image the laptop, do you have a process to manually copy the user’s My Documents folders to a secure file share location for later reference?

Finally, when data is copied from a departing employee’s Office 365 account, what issues do you need to consider around chain of custody if litigation is anticipated? Can you provide a report that documents what was copied/moved/deleted, when and by whom? This information is especially important for legal and regulatory compliance purposes.

Managing data for departed employees (grey data) with Archive2Azure

Archive2Azure uniquely offers a “one-click” solution to preserve a complete Office 365 account for a departed employee and it provides full chain of custody for legal and compliance. Archive2Azure can also find and migrate data from a user laptop or desktop with FastCollect. Admins love the ability to quickly preserve a complete Office 365 account and release the license without concern for future needs. (e.g. future legal search, file restore, full account restores, etc.)

Archive2Azure is the industry’s first cloud-based compliance storage solution that works seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure to preserve, protect, manage, and make available departed employee (grey) data.

For further information, please read the following blog.