Organisations have a number of responsibilities to employees — including how their personal data is protected and used. Financial information, employment history, social media accounts, and educational background are just a few examples of personal data that human resource management (HRM) is expected to keep secure.
HR specialists handle a high volume of sensitive corporate information including employees’ personal information and salary details. Access to the right data at the right time can enable the democratization of analytics, meaning HR team members can gain insights and inform business decisions across their function. This can include everything from hiring and retention statistics to diversity, equality, and inclusion efforts in an organisation.
Yet, the volume and type of data related to HR is highly sensitive. If that data were leaked, it could cause huge damage for the organisation and its employees. Thus, human resource professionals are in an ideal position to help implement data protection measures.
Control and access to employee data are key: Effective data management plans ensure that only specified people can access the data stored within an organisation. The HR department can set up and implement access permissions when new employees are onboarded and regularly update these processes to ensure best practices. Additionally, they must confirm that after the employee’s contract expires, they no longer have access to this data.
Protecting HR data
In today’s digitised world, it is borderline impossible to work without advanced technology. While this digitisation has improved processes and the sharing of information, it has also made it easier for bad actors to exploit businesses with poor cyber security hygiene.
Instilling transparency: To add a layer of security, companies should actively monitor available data and its usage. Additionally, it is now vital to include transparent analytics workflows in order to understand where data is gathered, how it is prepared, purified, and analysed, and where the findings are stored. With insight into the entire analysis pipeline, auditing processes are made simpler for regulatory requirements.
Fostering security policies: Every department, including human resources, is responsible for implementing organisational security policies to protect the business, its customers, and its staff from a variety of risks.
Building inside-out culture of security
The function of human resources in policy formulation and execution begins with recruitment. Additionally, recruitment staff need to have a code of conduct to follow during the process.
Protecting employee data and setting up firewalls: Not only are HRMs responsible for the storage and analysis of employee records, but they must also ensure that all sensitive information is safeguarded from unauthorised access. HRMs can ensure that permissions to view and alter confidential information are limited and shared with the appropriate people within the organisation by implementing measures such as authentication, authorisation, and encryption. Running audit checks on previous uses of this data can also help to strengthen the security wall.
Promoting a culture of data security: A strong cyber security culture should be built into the DNA of a company. The HR management must demonstrate to employees the significance of cyber security to the firm and their role in ensuring the company’s network is secured. This will instil a sense of accountability and responsibility in every employee.
The HR department plays a significant role in educating its employees about how to properly handle data. This involves creating a strong awareness program to emphasise how staff behaviour can help build a culture of security within an organisation. Businesses must understand that the administrators responsible for data recording and analysis, as well as human resource managers, are equally accountable for retaining employee trust and working to ensure data protection.