HR

Seven Tips to Keep Your Applicant and Employee Data Secure

Published On
September 28, 2023
Read Time
5 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

Employers have the obligation to protect the information they collect from employees and applicants. Details such as names, addresses, identification numbers, medical records, and other sensitive data that the employers gather may be used for various purposes.

Unfortunately, tracking all such details of your employees and applicants is not always easy. Due to the changes in work styles and the increasing number of cybersecurity threats, managers must regularly monitor and protect the information they collect.

This article outlines a few practical ways to ensure the security of your applicant and employee data.

What is a Data Breach?

A data breach is a term that refers to a security violation in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an unauthorized individual. An act of this kind can deleteriously impact an organization’s financial standing and reputation. It can also affect the operations of the company. Having the proper measures in place can help prevent unauthorized access to your employees’ and applicants’ data.

HR departments should be wary of the risks associated with handling the sensitive information of job applicants. Cybercriminals can use this information to make fraudulent claims about a potential candidate. Aside from being costly for the companies, data breaches can lead to the prosecution of individuals for failing to protect their personal information.

How to keep applicant and employee data secure?

Data theft happens when digital information stored on computers, servers, or electronic devices is stolen to obtain confidential information or compromise privacy. Here are seven methods that can help any company secure their data.

1. Provide proper training

One of the most effective ways to keep your employees and applicants away from data theft is by educating them about the importance of securing their personal information. Phishing emails are a threat to organizations’ data security. To ensure that employees follow proper procedures, ask the HR and payroll staff to verify all emails sent to them by company executives.

In addition to regular training on data security, it’s also vital that employees are informed about topics such as password security and social engineering. This will boost the company’s data security.

2. Create a strong policy

Although the organization’s data is essential, it’s also important to separate the various pieces of information into different categories. This can be done through the use of encryption and password management. After creating a policy which states that unauthorized access to employee data is a severe offense, managers can explain that disciplinary action will be taken against those involved in such acts. The managers can also notify employees if they suspect someone has accessed their protected information.

3. Strengthen computer security

Getting safer computer systems is integral to a successful and secure work environment. Having a firewall and a proxy server are two of the most critical steps that you can take to prevent unauthorized access. Update your operating systems and software regularly to keep them up to date and prevent your company from being vulnerable to cyber threats. Also, ensure employees are prevented from accessing the computers without permission.

4. Protect internet connections

Wi-Fi networks are incredibly vulnerable to security breaches due to their visibility. One of the most common ways attackers access sensitive data is through an unsecured network. Employee or applicant information should never be accessed using Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, airports, or other public places. To prevent falling prey in such cases, employees should use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to monitor their internet traffic and avoid unauthorized access. They should also use strong passwords to secure their home networks. Managers can inform their teams to be aware of such situations and take proper measures to guard their data.

5. Physical security

Although most offices are secure, as compared to remote workers, in-office staff are more vulnerable to theft and other physical threats. Since they often use expensive equipment and carry smartphones and tablets, there are chances that they could get stolen. Make sure that the employees are instructed to secure their gadgets. To minimize this risk during remote work, companies may help by providing a home security system, a group of physical electronic components that all work together to protect a home.

6. Endpoint security

Endpoint security safeguards endpoints or entry points of end-user devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices from exploitation. Security-conscious employees can also make mistakes when opening or responding to a phishing email. Having the proper anti-virus and firewalls installed on all devices is vital to prevent them from being infected with harmful software.

7. Investigate incidents and take action

If someone has unauthorized access to the employees’ records, immediately report the incident and determine the appropriate steps to prevent it from happening again. This will help the managers determine if improvements are needed to protect the employee data. The managers should also review state and federal laws on protecting personal information.

Remote work and data security

As companies expand their workforces, they face new concerns about the potential impact of remote work on their operations. One of the most significant factors that businesses consider when adopting this type of work is the availability of talent. Many are still satisfied with their hybrid model, while others have gone entirely remote. Here are a few aspects of securing data during remote employment.

1. Cloud

Despite the various barriers preventing organizations from achieving better security in their remote and hybrid work environments, many factors can still be considered when it comes to adopting the cloud. The increasing number of applications moving to the cloud has created a paradigm shift in how people think about offices. Instead of returning to the data center, they now consider the cloud a central hub. However, before implementing the cloud, they must ensure their security architecture is in place.

2. Team for help

Managers can’t be everywhere simultaneously, so it’s crucial to maintain a conservative balance regarding the policies and procedures. Having a plan and engaging the team at the individual level can help ensure everyone is on the same page. Having monthly audits of their settings can also help keep the data secure.

3. Multifunctional authentication

One of the best ways to keep your data secure in the remote workplace is by encouraging the team members to use multi-factor authentication and authentication applications. These tools require each member to enter multiple ways to verify their identity. Doing so can help prevent unauthorized access to a great extent.

Summing Up

Companies must continuously update their data security to attract and retain the best talent. The various layers managers add to ensure data security may not always be enough to secure the data fully. A determined individual can still get through it, and it’s essential not to fall for the notion that the information is secure. We hope some tips in this article help you secure your people’s data.

How are OnBlick’s customers on the safe side?

Being an expert compliance solution, OnBlick has always been keen on providing its customers with a secured data storage platform. We understand that Form I-9s, work authorization documents and several other forms contain confidential employee information. This is why we maintain strict measures to protect the interests and privacy of your organization.

OnBlick is an ISO 27001 and Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II compliant organization which confirms that it meets the security criteria defined by AICTE. Choose OnBlick as your compliance partner and safeguard your organization’s data against security threats.

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