HR data protection isn’t an option, it’s an obligation

The Heartbleed bug was a short, sharp reminder that data protection is paramount when it comes to the Internet and personal data.

When the bug was publicly disclosed, 17 per cent (approximately half a million) secure web servers were believed to be vulnerable. Since its disclosure, the security threat has been resolved; yet due to the fact no one is certain how long Heartbleed existed, or how much information the hackers obtained, organizations and individuals alike have realized the need to be even more security conscious.

When it comes to human resources, data security isn’t an option – it’s an obligation. And as Forbes recently reported in ‘The HR Decision That Could Sink Your Business’, a HR security blunder can sink any ship.

The HR department within any organisation plays a vital role in managing recruitment and ensuring employee welfare requirements are met, and either of these aspects can become company pitfalls if done poorly. Yet none are as detrimental as a security breach.

Tax-related identity theft is on the rise, as a result HR departments need to ensure that they’re not putting their staff at risk. HR departments need to guarantee that a strict set of best practice rules are followed in order to thoroughly vet cloud service providers to safeguarding employee data with double-encryption methods.

The system or systems HR professionals use also need to be thoroughly protected. Access controls are essential in ensuring data is protected. At Sage People we support multiple types of access control including Safe Harbor, SSAE-16, SOC 1 and SOC 2; each of which tightly control access to highly confidential HR data whilst giving maximum access for data that needs to be shared.

In the self-service age it’s important that employees have access to their records. On the other hand it’s as equally important that this information is safe from prying eyes. Sage People’s solution has been designed to securely provide multi-country or multi-business unit visibility of data for local HR teams, in addition to reporting line, and user profile controls for individual access.

Combinations of the above techniques provide required levels of access. This ensures that training managers, HR administrators, team managers and individuals can access the information they need, without inflicting any security vulnerability.

Security threats are not going to disappear; however, by developing strict data protection standards, continuously training HR professionals about best practices, and using the correct tools, organizations are able to avoid security pitfalls and avoid disruption to day to day business.

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