3 Things That All HR Professionals Should Know About Data Security

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Whether it’s in recruitment, payrolls, performance management, or incidents and grievance redressals, HR professionals deal with copious amounts of sensitive data over the general course of business.

This includes employee information such as name, address, salary, social security details, and more, making it an absolute goldmine for cybercriminals, along with competitors, and nosy government regulators.

As a result, data protection is among the top concerns for HR professionals off-late, with many new systems, policies, and frameworks coming to the fore in order to address these issues. The threats faced by an organization in this regard often extend beyond just hackers and ransomware, to even negligent leaks, internal sabotages, and more, requiring extensive controls and audit systems thereof.

Having a stern data security policy in human resources is now all the more critical following GDPR and the new employee data protection rules. This comprehensive data protection and privacy regulation from the EU specifies everything pertaining to the collection, handling, and retention of employee data by employers, with significant penalties going all the way up to 4% of turnover for any breaches.

1.  NDAs, Confidentiality & Privacy Policies

The biggest source of leaks and data thefts at organizations remains its own employees, who either willingly, or unwillingly disclose confidential information to an outsider. This is the reason why large corporations make their employees sign non-disclosure agreements, barring them from sharing any information regarding the nature of their work, or other details, even with their families.

Next comes the employee privacy policy, which is an internal document that guides and prescribes rules for the internal use of employee data. This includes policies, and procedures regarding the retrieval, usage, and disclosure, with the aim of protecting employee privacy, while also preventing leakages, and misuse of the same. This policy is often subject to regular updates to keep up with the changing times.

2.  Access Control Systems

Internal controls essentially constitute policies and procedures, aimed at reducing instances of fraud, and theft, all the while improving integrity within an organization. When it comes to data protection, access control systems are increasingly the norm, with restrictions on individuals who can access sensitive information, along with extensive compliance requirements to prevent the misuse of the same.

Once access to a particular file is granted, the individual requesting access is logged, along with a timestamp, and the purpose. Following this, the said individual can be held accountable for any leaks, thefts, or negligence.

Most organizations make use of extensive surveillance, including CCTV to track and monitor employees in this regard, which has since become a new normal for most HR professionals.

3.  Cybersecurity Risks

With digital transformation gaining pace across organizations, cybersecurity risks aren’t that far behind, and if recent events are any indication, even small businesses aren’t safe from the scourge of ransomware. This makes IT and legal teams essential companions when working towards an effective HR data protection policy, along with responding to lapses and breaches, as and when they occur.

The HR department plays an important role when it comes to crafting and implementing organizational security policies, especially when training employees on proper cyber hygiene, and promoting a culture of cyber safety. Managers should also work to ensure that the tools and software used by the HR teams are certified for data protection, and comply with all industry-standard protocols such as SOC-2.

How To Raise Data Security Concerns With Your Company?

If you’re working in HR for an organization that still maintains a lax attitude towards data security, it is your prerogative to speak up and raise these concerns with senior management.

Working in tandem with either an in-house IT team, or an outsourced service provider, you can help highlight all the various risks and vulnerabilities that HR data is being exposed to, in order to compel action.

When working with an outsourced service provider, make sure to stick to those available locally in order to improve response times during cases of emergencies. For example, sticking with San Jose IT services is a lot preferable when compared to working with a team that is even as little off as San Mateo.

Final Words

The evolution in HRM over the past few years has made it the single most important thread in an organization, holding together pretty much the entire house of cards on its shoulders. As a result, it is absolutely essential for HR professionals to up their game, and get ready for a role that can increasingly make, or break a company.

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