Now that employees are using personal devices to work from home, accessing company information on mobile phones, and traveling around the world with valuable information stored on tablets and laptops, data security has become more critical than ever.
HR professionals know how important this data is and how easily it can be compromised. Everything from private employee history to salary information and medical forms are now stored on web-based programs. If a leak occurs or a company is hacked, private information may be made available to unauthorized sources, external and internal, an often chaotic event. In an age where technology is king, how can a business protect confidential information? Keep reading to find five tips for safeguarding HR data:
1. Get Real and Get Protected
Plenty of companies have trouble with data security, but there’s a large sense of denial floating around the business community about whom exactly it happens to. According to a study conducted by the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance, 77 percent of small-business owners said their company is safe from viruses and spyware, but 87 percent of respondents do not have an official Internet security plan in place.
In that same survey, 66 percent of small-business owners reported not being worried about data leaks and hacking, even though 73 percent of respondents said a secure Internet connection was critical to company success. This disconnect and resulting complacency regarding security is what ultimately leads to leaks, whether they are internal or a company is hacked from outside sources.
It’s time for businesses to take this issue seriously—companies can begin by implementing human resources solutions based on employee responsibility and should also be using software solutions to help monitor employee activity and keep hackers out.
2. Communicate With Staff
One of the most basic and important ways to improve data security is to clearly explain company policies to a staff. Inform new hires about Internet policies and employee responsibility. This can include policies regarding personal devices, too—if a staff member accesses company data on a personal device, a business may recommend downloading security software to protect it and can even require employees to disclose the devices they may be working from.
3. Tighten Password Protection
An HR team can protect data by requiring everyone at a company to use passwords when logging on to work computers. Computers should be set to require a password to gain access every time the monitor shuts down due to inactivity.
A company can also require password rotation on a regular basis and use complex, unique passwords that will be tough to crack—such as those with character minimums and case-sensitive type.
4. Educate Employees
A strong employee management program will not only teach workers what not to do, but will show staff how to recognize dangerous websites or potential security breaches. A business can stress the importance of the policies by educating a team on what a breach really means: An information leak could result in the loss of private information, which no one wants.
Also establish a plan of action for employees who may experience a data leak. Let them know whom they should tell if they think their computer has been compromised or if any other data security concerns arise.
5. Monitor Regularly
As responsible as a staff may be, it’s ultimately up to the HR team and company management to make sure information stays safe.
A business can keep data safe by equipping work computers, tablets, and other devices with technology that will monitor employee Internet use. This will make it easier to see where potential threats may be coming from and can help HR representatives safeguard company data.