Taking good care of employees is essential to running a good business. Today, businesses of all sizes are working hard to protect the sensitive data they store and manage. With the rise of data breaches and other cyber threats, it is more critical than ever to ensure that employee data is kept secure.
So what kind of data needs to be protected and why? Here are the best practices for storing and protecting employee data and some common employee data security threats many businesses face.
What Is Employee Data and Why It Needs To Be Protected
Employee data is information about employees that is collected, stored, and used by an organization.
This data can include contact information, salary information, Social Security numbers, and other personal information. This data is used for a variety of purposes, such as payroll, record-keeping, and compliance. It is critical that businesses keep employee data safe and secure to protect their employees and comply with data privacy laws.
Employee data is especially vulnerable to security threats such as data breaches, phishing attacks, and ransomware. Without proper protection, employee data can be easily accessed by malicious actors. This can lead to identity theft and financial losses for both the company and its employees. To protect employee data, businesses must implement strong security measures and data management policies.
Types of Employee Data That Need Protection
When it comes to protecting employee data, it is vital to understand the types of data that need to be protected. Common types of employee data include:
- Contact information
- Social Security numbers
- Salary information
- Bank account information
- Performance reviews
- Employment records
- Medical records
It is important to know that some of this data is more sensitive than others and should be given extra attention when it comes to data protection.
Best Practices for Storing and Protecting Employee Data
There are several best practices that businesses should follow to protect employee data; these include:
Encrypting data is one of the best ways to protect sensitive information. This process involves using an algorithm to rearrange data so that it is unreadable to users without authorization.
Storing data securely
Businesses should store data with a secure cloud storage provider or in a protected physical location and limit access to only those who need it. Additionally, data should be stored on secure servers and backed up regularly.
Using strong passwords
It is crucial to use strong passwords for all accounts, including employee data accounts. Passwords should be changed regularly, and employees should be educated on best password practices.
Implementing access control
Access control measures should be implemented to ensure that only authorized users can access employee data. This includes implementing multi-factor authentication and setting up access restrictions.
Monitoring data usage
Businesses should monitor how their employee data is being used and who has access to it. This can help identify any unauthorized access or suspicious activity.
Above are just some of the best practices that businesses should follow to protect employee data, the more, the merrier!
Ensuring Employee Data Security
In addition to implementing best practices for storing and protecting employee data, businesses should also invest in security tools and technologies. These tools can help detect security threats and provide additional layers of protection. Some essential tools include:
- Firewalls: Firewalls can help block unauthorized access to employee data and prevent malicious attacks.
- Intrusion detection and prevention systems: Systems of this nature can detect and prevent intrusions into employee data systems.
- Antivirus and malware protection: Antivirus and malware protection can help detect and remove malicious software from employee data systems.
- Data loss prevention software: Data loss prevention software can help detect and prevent the unauthorized transfer of employee data.
These tools can provide an additional layer of security for employee data and help protect against most cyber threats.
Employee Data Management Laws
On top of implementing best practices and security tools, businesses must also comply with employee data management laws. These laws vary by country and state, but generally, most laws dictate that companies must protect employee data and ensure that it is not misused in one way or another.
Some of the most common employee data management laws include the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the US, and Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Businesses must always be up-to-date and aware of these laws and maintain rigid compliance.
Creating a Secure and Compliant Employee Data Storage System
It’s extremely wise to develop a formal employee data storage system that’s compliant with local laws. Creating a secure and compliant employee data storage system is essential for staying organized and keeping track of employee data. This system should include the following elements:
- Secure servers: The server should be secured with the latest security measures and technologies to protect employee data.
- Access control: Access control measures should be implemented to guarantee that only authorized users can access the system.
- Data encryption: Data should be encrypted to protect it from unauthorized access.
- Data backup: Data should be backed up regularly to protect against data loss.
- Monitoring: The system should be monitored to detect any suspicious activity.
By implementing these five elements, businesses can create a secure and compliant employee data storage system that will allow them to locate any suspicious happenings quickly.
The Importance of Employee Data Security Policies
The next step? After creating a secure and compliant employee data storage system, businesses should also implement employee data security policies. These policies should outline the measures that will be taken to protect employee data and ensure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities.
Essential components that should be included in an employee data security policy include the following:
- Access control measures
- Data encryption requirements
- Data backup procedures
- Password requirements
- Monitoring procedures
- Reporting requirements
By implementing these policies, businesses can ensure that employee data is kept secure while also minimizing the risk of breach due to human error or oversight.
How To Educate Employees on Data Security
In tandem with implementing data security policies, businesses should also educate their employees on data security. This can help ensure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities and can help reduce the risk of data breaches due to staff unawareness or unpreparedness. Some ways to educate employees on data security include:
- Training sessions: Training sessions can be used to educate employees on data security best practices and policies.
- Security awareness campaigns: Security awareness campaigns can help raise awareness of data security threats and how to protect against them.
- Security quizzes: Security quizzes can be used to test employees’ knowledge of data security.
- Security newsletters: Security newsletters can help keep employees up to date on the newest security threats and best practices.
By educating employees on data security, businesses can empower employees to take cybersecurity into their own hands to help safeguard their and their coworkers’ data from harm.
Common Employee Data Security Threats
Lastly, it is crucial to be aware of the common security threats that can affect employee data. Some of the most common threats include:
- Phishing attacks: Phishing attacks are attempts to acquire sensitive information by sending malicious emails or links.
- Social engineering: Social engineering is the weaponization of misdirection and deception to gain access to data.
- Malware: Malware is malicious software designed to damage or steal data.
- Data breaches: Data breaches are the unauthorized access of data.
By being aware of these threats, businesses can become warier of unusual behavior or notice schemes designed to infiltrate their employee data.
Benefits of Securing Employee Data
Securing employee data is essential for protecting employees and complying with data privacy laws. Not only that, there are several other added benefits of locking down employee data, including:
- Improved trust: By protecting employee data, businesses can build trust with their employees and customers.
- Reduced risk of fraud: By implementing data security measures, companies can reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft.
- Compliance with data privacy laws: By securing employee data, businesses can ensure that they are compliant with data privacy laws.
- Improved productivity: By reducing the risk of data breaches, businesses can improve employee productivity.
Businesses Can’t Afford Not To Protect Employee Data
Protecting employee data is essential for businesses of all sizes. By implementing best practices, investing in security tools, complying with data privacy laws, and educating employees on data security, companies can ensure that employee data is kept secure and compliant.
It’s now apparent there are several benefits of securing employee data, including improved trust, reduced risk of fraud, compliance with data privacy laws, and improved productivity.
Still, need some help keeping employees’ information private? A safe, secure, and end-to-end encrypted cloud storage provider, like Internxt, is an excellent place to start. Let professionals worry about data security and get back to the real business at hand.
Mia Naumoska is a Chief Marketing Officer at Internxt – world’s most private cloud storage. Having over a decade of experience in the marketing field, Mia is responsible for Internxt’s overall marketing strategy and managing an amazing team of marketing experts.