Many businesses of all sizes and scales are shifting to digitalized and paperless systems. While these hold many benefits, one threat that can’t be simply ignored is the possibility of leaking sensitive data information. As technologies innovate, so do cybercriminals continue developing more advanced hacking strategies. If your business is concerned about its employee data, it’s best to learn some effective ways to protect them.
The HR department holds all the employee records, including their medical records, personal information, bank accounts, and SSN. These pieces of data are all sensitive, and the privacy of your employees can be threatened if you don’t equip your business with a solid cybersecurity plan. It’s best to get more info on how to secure your workplace and ensure that you comply with your employees’ international privacy laws.
Here are some of the best practices to ensure employee data protection:
1. Assess The Data You Have
Before anything else, it’s essential to assess your current data stored in your HR department. What are these data, and how important are they for your employees and business? Make sure the data definitions are solid, not just for one group or organization, but for the entire company.
Knowing what information you hold is the first step to effectively protecting it. The HR data of a company can fall into a state of disarray and disorganization if your business has been operating for decades. This issue is even more likely if you’re on your way to shifting to digitalized formats. There might be hard copies of resumes, biodata, and paycheck records that are stored in folders on your computer that don’t have encryption yet.
It’s not sufficient to know where sensitive data are located; you must also understand the information on each former or current employee. It’s critical to organize and stay on top when handling customer data. Sort out all the records from before and assess how to store them. Thankfully, there are data organization software and tools that allow you to retrieve, store, and access records that are hard to find.
2. Categorize Your Stored Data
If sensitive data have been defined, categorize them so that everyone within the HR organization knows what to do with such information. Categorizing allows your department to conveniently access all the information of your employees without having to waste hours finding and locating them from scattered files. It’d help restrict access only to those authorized so sensitive information will be protected.
3. Encrypt All Data
Cybercrimes can happen to anyone at any time. If all other control measures fail, encryption can stop attacks on sensitive data. Eventually, a hacker or their malware virus will gain access and steal data. With encryption, a hacker won’t be able to read files on your network no matter how deep into it they go, effectively securing data even after they’ve been accessed.
While it’s pretty standard for businesses only to encrypt highly sensitive information, like IDs, a better approach is to encrypt the entire files of employees. Personal records and employee information need to be updated every now and then, and it’s best to have all the files encrypted. It’s been proven that encryption can be applied effectively when file-level encryption is applied to business process level. It’s much easier to manage if encryption is applied to a process or workflow established to handle sensitive employee data in a data discovery assessment.
4. Train The HR Department
There’s no doubt how much technology is changing human resource management. Department members should constantly keep up with such changes. The people who are continually accessing sensitive employee data are the HR department. Hence, it’s crucial to inform them of the best practices to ensure safe records remain.
Managers need to be professionally prepared to handle situations if an employee resigns from an organization. It’s imperative that they do so to prevent data leaks. A regular update of the training is necessary to keep managers up to date on the latest employment law developments and the best practices for handling departing employees.
5. Require Authorized Authentication
Only authorized users should be able to access confidential information to prevent unauthorized access. All the systems in your HR department’s computers should be protected with authorized authentication. And, in some instances, even a username and password may not cut it. It’s best to have passwords and multi-factor authentication for sensitive employee records. It’d also be wise for your company to create policies requiring compliance officers or top management approval to access certain types of sensitive information.
As the company’s practices of gathering employee and consumer information rapidly evolve, it must also have procedures in place for protecting sensitive data. HR professionals have also been given more responsibilities, so they must take specific measures to cover everything today. Hopefully, the tips above will provide your business with the basic ideas on ensuring the safety of your employee data.