Revoking Access



Updated March 23, 2023

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Operationally, it’s more complicated to remove access from a set of remote tools than to remove a building fob or pass. To make sure you’re able to remove access to tools and virtual workspaces when someone leaves, it’s best to keep up-to-date records of who has what level of access to which tools. In many startups in particular, new tools are adopted and old ones dropped every month, so this needs to be regularly maintained.

Wherever possible, you can benefit from using single sign-on methods, such as Okta or Auth0. This allows you to remove access to most tools at once. To prevent some difficulty in the event of a dismissal or departure, you may wish to consider early on whether or not a team member needs access to the tool. It’s always good practice to grant the lowest necessary level of access. For example, one would not give out “administrator” access when a lower level of access will do. It’s much easier to grant or change access when it becomes needed, than to reverse the damage done by a disgruntled ex-employee who has administrator access to the key tool. These best practices are even more important in a distributed team, where you need to be able to quickly lock down access to a tangled web of online tools and portals, and this is hard to do in a hurry if you’re disorganized or under-prepared.

Other Difficult News

For communicating other difficult news (such as deaths, illnesses, leaves of absence, or upsetting public news) to a distributed team, you can use the following guidelines as a start:

  • It’s imperative to talk to anyone directly affected privately first (co-workers close to the affected colleague, team members on the same team, managers or direct reports of the person affected, or people directly affected by political news or traumatic events).

  • Next, share a public announcement of the news with the company. If it’s relevant, this would include details of how to support the person or family, such as meal trains or memorial service details.

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