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The Perils of HR Data: Why You Should Guard It With Your Life (Or At Least A Good Password)

The Perils of HR Data: Why You Should Guard It With Your Life (Or At Least A Good Password) 

Data security is vital in today’s world where information is exchanged and stored electronically, all the time. It is even more critical when dealing with sensitive HR information related to employees. Any breach of this data can have severe consequences for both the employees and the organisation. In this blog we discuss the importance of data security and the potential consequences for mismanagement. 

You need to know a lot of personal and private data about someone you want to employ. HR data security is necessary to not only protect the privacy of employees but to ensure the company is acting responsibly. Companies collect various types of personal information, including name, address, National Insurance number, bank account details, and other sensitive data. This information is provided to the employer with the expectation that it will be kept confidential and only used for specific purposes. If this information is not adequately protected, it can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, and other forms of cybercrime.  

Employees expect their data to be secure and handled with care, and any breach of their privacy can erode trust in their employer and cause significant harm.  

It is no secret that data security can be a rather dry subject, lots of us have PTSD from GDPR regulations… But because these laws require companies to protect employee data and provide guidelines on how it should be processed, stored, and transferred – it is integral to fully appreciate and implement the right actions. 


The following measures can help ensure that data is kept securely: 

Data Encryption 

Encryption is one of the most critical methods of securing data, and we are sure we all appreciate the privacy measure on WhatsApp! Encryption involves converting data into a coded form that can only be accessed by authorised individuals. The data can only be decrypted using a specific key, which is known only to authorised persons. Encryption can be applied to sensitive data such as passwords, bank details, and other confidential information.  


Regular Backups 

Creating regular backups of data is essential in ensuring data is kept securely. Backups provide a means of recovering data in the event of a system failure or a security breach. Organisations should ensure that backups are taken frequently, and the data is stored in a secure location that is separate from the primary system. 


Access Control  

Access control measures are an essential aspect of data security. This involves limiting access to data to only authorised personnel. Organisations should ensure that access to sensitive data is granted only to employees who require it for their job. Additionally, access should be revoked immediately when an employee leaves the company. 


Employee Training 

One of the most common causes of data breaches is human error. Employees are often the weakest link in the chain, and therefore, organisations should provide regular training on data security. This can include training on how to identify and avoid phishing emails, the importance of strong passwords, and how to spot and report suspicious activity. Utilising HRTech to support this training can be a winning solution.  


Data Destruction 

Data destruction is a critical aspect of data security, and organisations should have a secure process in place for destroying data that is no longer needed. This can include physically destroying hard drives or using software to overwrite data. Be aware of the regulations in place for data retention timelines but don’t keep anything that no longer serves a purpose and is no longer under retention guidance.  


Compliance with Regulations 

Organisations should ensure that they comply with all relevant regulations and standards, such as GDPR. These regulations provide guidelines on how data should be collected, stored, and processed, and organisations that fail to comply may face significant fines and reputational damage.  


Data security is necessary to maintain the integrity of HR data. It is not just about internet pirates being omnipresent in our lives – HR data is essential for making informed decisions about the organisation’s workforce, such as hiring, promotions, and performance evaluation. If this data is compromised, it can lead to inaccurate information and affect decision-making. This can have significant consequences for the organisation, such as increased turnover, reduced productivity, and legal action. 

If you don’t take the protection of employee privacy seriously and fail to implement adequate data security measures you run the risk of causing significant harm to both employees and the organisation, including legal action, reputational damage, and financial loss. Therefore, it is essential to take data security seriously and implement robust measures to protect HR data.