Microsoft imposes restrictions on 'external staff,' limits their network and business access

Microsoft imposes restrictions on external staff, cuts their access to buildings and network after certain period

Microsoft has sent out another email to its employees. The new email imposes certain restrictions on “external staff” -- which includes people who work on projects for the company through vendors as freelancers, as well as business guests, or in any other personnel in non-permanent terms.

The said staff will not be allowed to access the company’s network or get inside Microsoft buildings for a period of six months after every 18-month period in which they worked for the company. “At the end of the 18 months, the external staff will have their Microsoft corporate network and building access removed for a minimum of six months before access can be requested again.”, the memo reads.  

Microsoft explains that the change in policy is being made to “better protect Microsoft intellectual property and confidentiality.” The second reason could be making a distinction between company’s direct employees and its contingent workforce.

We are yet to see how vendors react to this, as the decision seems a bit harsh on them. The contingent workers -- at least in the US -- will lose their access to buildings and the network for six months after every 18-month period.

Geekwire has obtained the email, which you can read below.

From: Microsoft GPG Communications
Date: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

Subject: Changes to Microsoft network and building access for external staff

The purpose of this mail is to introduce a new policy that will better protect our Microsoft IP and confidential information. The policy change affects US-based external staff (including Agency Temporaries, Vendors and Business Guests) and limits their access to Microsoft buildings and the Microsoft corporate network to a period of 18 months, with a required six-month break before access may be granted again. If your staff does not have Microsoft building or network access, this policy change will not apply to or impact them. The policy went into effect July 1st, 2014 and applies as follows:

Type of External Staff
Agency Temporary Worker (a-)
All other types of external Staff including Vendors and Business Guests (v- or b-)

New policy for external staff who had access prior to July 1, 2014:

An Agency Temporary Worker who was engaged prior to July 1, 2014, may continue to perform services for the duration of their original 365 days, plus an additional six months to bring them in-line with the new 18-month access policy. They will have network and building access removed for a period of at least 6 months.

External staff classified as Vendor or Business Guest who had Microsoft building or corporate network access prior to July 1, 2014, may have continued access for 18 months that is, until January 1, 2016. After 18 months, network and building access will be removed for a period of at least 6 months.

New policy for external staff who are being granted access July 1, 2014 or later :

After 18 months, network and building access will be removed for a period of at least 6 months.

New policy for former Microsoft employees who are being granted access as an external staff:

Any Microsoft employee who separated from Microsoft on or after July 1, 2014, will be required to take a minimum 6-month break from access between the day the employee separates from Microsoft and the date when the former employee may begin an assignment as an External Staff performing services for Microsoft.

While network and building access may be required to effectively complete project work, we often have effective means of working together without granting access. This policy will help our sponsors to make thoughtful decisions regarding network and building access to strengthen protection of Microsoft’s confidential communication.

We value your partnership and thank you in advance for your support over the next 18 months as you work with your sponsor(s) to help understand the Microsoft business impact of these changes and to ensure business continuity.

Please share this information with your company’s Microsoft account manager(s) and with your staff on assignment at Microsoft. If you have questions, please email our Microsoft External Staff Operations team who are available to assist you. Also note that we have asked our employees who sponsor external staff to defer any questions to our External Staff Operations team as well.

Many thanks,
The Microsoft Global Procurement team

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