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What Can Business Owners Do To Protect Their Employees Data?

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Protecting important business information and systems as well as customer data is vital in the digital world in which organizations operate today.

It’s equally important to protect employees’ personal and sensitive information, as the same heavy penalties can apply if that data is breached, stolen, or misused.

Every company should take data protection seriously and adopt methods to ensure that company, customer and employee data is also protected against intrusion and theft. Here are some of the ways you can make sure staff information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands:

Adopt strong password policies

Ensuring there is secure password sharing in your organization is the critical first step in protecting employee data. This is critical considering that over 80% of hacking-related breaches occur because of stolen or weak passwords.

When a cybercriminal gains access to your corporate network, shared passwords give them easier access to more important information, including employee data. For example, if an employee has a simple Word or Google Doc file with lots of passwords, it could turn a minor breach into a huge security issue for the whole company.

Strong password management is essential in the first place. Every password in a company must contain at least 14 characters, including letters, numbers and symbols. They also need to be changed periodically.

As for shared passwords, they should not be sent via email or messaging platforms. Instead, secure password sharing software should be used to ensure that this vital login information does not fall into the wrong hands.

Master your sensitive data

Understanding what information you have is the first step to effectively protecting it. You need to know not only where sensitive data is stored, but also what exact information you have about every employee, current and former.

The amount of data businesses produce and retain is growing exponentially every year. According to a recent report published by International Data Corp. (IDC), global collective data will grow 61% per year over the next few years, reaching 175 zettabytes by 2025.

Plus, your data is now stored on a wider range of devices than ever before, whether it’s a cloud service, mobile device, local machine, or network. business.

Using data identification software, you can also scan your system for sensitive data that you have forgotten, lost, or misplaced, in addition to reorganizing your files.

Make data accessible only to those who need it

It is not necessary for an employee to know the information that HR has on another employee. Responsibility for maintaining confidentiality rests with management as the custodian of sensitive information. Unless a particular business requirement requires it, even HR personnel do not need access to certain employee records.

By limiting access to employee data only to those who have a direct business purpose to view it, you reduce the possibility of this information being misused, disclosed or stolen.

Use data encryption

Data encryption protects the confidentiality of digital data when it is stored on computers and transmitted over the Internet or other computer networks. Today’s computer systems and communications need to be protected with modern encryption algorithms that have replaced the outdated Data Encryption Standard (DES).

Authentication, integrity and non-repudiation are some of the main security initiatives provided by these algorithms. Authentication confirms the source of a message, and integrity ensures that the content of the message has not been modified since it was sent.

Identify and develop formal policies and procedures

Specify the type and method of protecting sensitive information in a formal data security policy. Ask employees to notify you immediately of any unauthorized access to protected information if they suspect it has occurred.

Collect employee data only for legitimate business purposes. Also, state that unauthorized copying, transmission, viewing, or use of sensitive employee information will result in disciplinary action, including termination.

Make sure records are disposed of properly

Employee records must be disposed of in such a way that they cannot be read or reconstructed, usually at the end of the retention period. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Recordings can be destroyed, shredded or burned so that they cannot be reconstructed or played
  • Destroy or delete electronic media containing employee information.
  • Records can be properly disposed of by a reputable third-party vendor in accordance with federal regulations.

Training should be provided

Inform employees and supervisors of your organization’s data security policies. It is also important that employees who have access to sensitive information are trained on how the organization prevents unauthorized access to confidential information, responds to security breaches, and disposes of employee records securely. Identity thieves and hackers also use social engineering and phishing to gain access to sensitive information, which must be covered during training.

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