Safeguarding HR Information

Take a look at some new ideas for conserving your employees’ private data. It’s an impressive list: Time Warner, Eastman Kodak, Motorola, MCI. All industry market leaders with significant resources and many employees. Year And this past, most of them needed to inform current or former employees that their delicate personal information had been affected. Employees were subjected to identification robbery potentially. It’s a danger that’s not limited by this short list of top employers. There have been numerous high-profile cases where thousands of employee, consumer, and college student records were lost by, or stolen from, various finance institutions, data brokers, and universities.

In fact, September there have been more than 100 personal information breaches of worker through, consumer or pupil data affecting more than 56 million people, regarding a list updated regularly by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) in San Diego. Among the largest breaches happened at Time Warner, which announced this spring that tapes formulated with personal information on about 600,000 current and previous U.S.-centered employees have been lost by Iron Mountain Inc., a Boston-based information-storage space and management firm. The U.S. Secret Service is looking into.

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“In the wake of the situations of days gone by year involving a number of companies, we’ve made a decision to start encrypting all of our backup tapes,” says Time Warner spokeswoman Kathy McKiernan. Time Warner also offers “changed certain methods in terms of Iron Mountain’s handling of our data,” McKiernan added, but she would not discuss information on those visible changes, citing security concerns.

Such security breaches will come at a price. As a result, safeguarding and properly losing employee information in all forms has become a business necessity for employers for a number of reasons, including potential legal liability, reputation, and consumer and worker confidence. Employees consistently give companies their life background by means of a biography or continue, followed by a background check and a medication test-and they expect employers to protect it maybe. ” says Gary Clayton, CEO of the Privacy Council, a division of Jefferson Data Strategies LLC, in Dallas. Clayton advocates a phased method of employee data security that starts with support from the company’s CEO or panel of directors.

Once professional buy-in has been established, an HR professional should lead the process. The next phase begins by understanding the internal and external data and processes flows that involve personal employee information. Employers must understand the business processes involved from collection through disposal, as well as the company’s legal obligations, says Clayton, who is a lawyer and has been a privacy and data protection consultant for more than a decade. ” Harris says. “That’s a paradigm shift for individuals in HR.

When considering the life cycle of employee information, employers should focus, in broad terms, on data insight, disposal, and storage. Although there are no easy answers about the best ways to get, dispose, and manage of such sensitive information, employers can-and should-take numerous steps to ensure the security of employee data.

Here are potential steps to take. With regards to sensitive information, sometimes it’s better if employers don’t require it. Employers should look carefully at the personal information they might need employees and job applicants to provide-and when they keep these things provide it. Don’t ask job candidates for their Social Security amounts (SSNs) or other private information until essential, cautions Linda Foley, co-founder of the ITRC.

“An excessive amount of information is being collected at the incorrect period of time,” she says. “You don’t need a Social Security quantity until you’re going to do a history check and potentially offer them the work. Once you collect sensitive information, track what you have. By keeping track of what confidential data you have and where these are stored, you will have a less strenuous time making certain the data are secure that, when the time comes, they will properly be removed. What is the information to be protected and in what format?

Is it a paper or digital record? Would automation make the data pretty much secure? “Among the basic things employers must have is an insurance plan about private information,” he says. And what steps are taken up to protect it? In order to limit access to HR data, employers must decide what information shall be available and then the HR section, says Harris.