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The Importance of Data Security in HR

September 26, 2019 - PRemployer

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With the move to online job applications and vetting, human resources (HR) offices have an alarming amount of personal information vulnerable to hacking. Other processes, such as contract-signing and scheduling, are also handled online. This is in addition to standard actions like sending and receiving emails and sending data arising from the ordinary course of business. All of this online exposure can lead to expensive and possibly catastrophic data breaches – due to outside hackers as well as malicious internal elements. This makes it essential to increase your HR data security level as much as possible.

How Do Data Security Breaches Happen?

Surprisingly, most intellectual property theft takes place by internal agents. They make use of insecure systems to email sensitive information, and they don't think to keep sensitive data to themselves on the phone or when online. Those who are intentionally trying to crack a company's systems may also do things like installing keyloggers or malicious programs (malware) to capture information. 

What Can be Done to Improve Data Security?

Several steps can be taken to improve data security in HR. Some of these account for normal human behavior, such as the tendency to become lax when there is no visible threat present. Others are more active and are meant to thwart intentional data theft either by internal agents or outside hackers.

Train and Retrain Your Employees on Data Security

Make data security training part of your onboarding process, so even new hires are up to speed on the latest practices and threats. Also, retrain current employees regularly to inform them of new advances in both security and hacking. Let them know about the latest scams, security threats, and updates to best practices.

Be sure to include the HR department in all of these measures. Most job applications and resumes include information like social security numbers and driver's license numbers, along with names, addresses, and phone numbers. This makes them prime targets for identity thieves.

Perform a Risk Assessment

It's easy to assume that your employees have adequate security training, but people tend to revert to their old ways over time. It's natural to prefer to do things in ways that are more familiar or more efficient, and this can lead to security holes. One example is the tendency to use the same simple password for everything. This makes it easy for a hacker to break into multiple affected programs and sites with a straightforward crack.

A risk assessment can uncover these and other insecure practices. Once you know where your company's weaknesses are, you can take steps to eliminate the security holes.

Encourage Accountability

Make everyone accountable for their own security so that they have a reason to care about the quality. Have HR help by encouraging accountability and by making sure all employees are aware of their role in keeping the company safe.

Be Proactive

It's far better to be proactive about data protection than to try to react to a breach that has taken place. Once a breach occurs, personal identification and intellectual property have already been compromised, making your company liable for both direct and indirect damages.

Being proactive is not only less expensive, but it's also better for your company's image. Your business won't be associated with headlines like "data breach" or "personal information compromised." One way that your company can be proactive is by working with an insurance agency sells Cyber Insurance Policies.  It is important to be protected just in case your company does experience a data breach. Having an insurance agency on your side can be extremely beneficial.

Even though data security might not seem like a big deal unless there is a breach, it's best to consider it a top priority at all times. This significantly lowers your risk of a breach taking place. One of the ways you can decrease your risk is to outsource your HR to a company that specializes in these matters. Then, employee data will all be handled by a company that specializes in human resources and keeping the information safe.


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