Data Security: Why It Should Matter To HR

Heather R. Huhman

Data Security: Why It Should Matter To HR

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Data Security: Why It Should Matter To HR

Disclosure: The following post is sponsored by Microsoft Teams, the new chat-based workspace in Office 365.

One email to a spouse for help left 36,000 employees’ data vulnerable.

It doesn’t take an experienced and malicious cyber hacker to put your employees’ most valuable information at risk — something Boeing recently learned the hard way.

Whether it’s deviant hackers or an uninformed employee, your team’s data could be put at risk. New technology provides critical functionality and infrastructure for today’s businesses, but increasing advancements also mean even more opportunity for security breaches.

However, chief technology officers aren’t the only ones who should be concerned with keeping sensitive information safe. In fact, data security issues impact HR pros directly, but they are often unaware of the negative consequences and potentially irreversible damage.

#MicrosoftTeams Bonus Tip:

As part of Office 365, Microsoft Teams allows HR pros to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with others in their organization and easily integrates into their already existing subscription. This is a ready-to-go solution for entire companies. 

Here are three reasons HR pros need to pay attention to data security:

1. Employees rely on you to keep them safe.

From date of birth to addresses, bank information, and even social security numbers, employees trust HR departments with their highly-sensitive information. Without question, during the onboarding process alone, your team has offered up valuable data that could harm their faith in you as an employer and wreak havoc on their personal lives.

Action step: Be upfront with your team about the measures you take to keep their information protected. Explain what technology you have in place to prevent data leakage, limitations on external users who can view information, and what your regulatory compliance and security audits entail.

#MicrosoftTeams Bonus Tip:

When using Microsoft Teams, data is encrypted at all times and covered by a transparent operational model. Also, allowing multi-factor authentication provides enhanced identity protection to keep data safe within the team. 

It’s also crucial to let them know incidents are still possible, you take any form of security breach seriously, and should one arise, your first step is to make them aware of the issue. This will allow them to take necessary personal actions immediately — and give them a sense of security knowing HR is doing what they can to keep their information safe but is willing to be open, honest, and work with them to resolve any mishaps that do occur.

2. Your employer brand is on the line.

Even though data breaches are unintentional, one accidental leak could cause customers to lose their trust in you as a reliable company.

And with customer distrust comes a potential loss in high-quality candidates.

Cleaning up the aftermath of a data security breach is costly in many areas for companies, and HR departments feel the expensive ripple effects. From losing employees to the hack to repairing a damaged employer brand, HR pros are left reeling for months, or years, to come.

Even though Target’s massive Black Friday credit and debit card breach happened four years ago, people are still talking about the leaked information. As Target’s customer relations team focuses on gaining back customers’ trust, their HR department is also hard at work rebranding themselves as a reputable employer.

#MicrosoftTeams Bonus Tip:

Many organizations have more moving parts than they can count, so your team needs to feel their information is safe and won’t be traveling outside of the trusted area. With Microsoft Teams, users’ secure data and private information are kept in one place in the cloud, reducing the risk of leaking sensitive information, as was the case for the Boeing employee. 

Action step: Address any situation quickly and honestly. Today’s job seekers have many options when choosing an employer, which means impacted HR departments have their work cut out for them.

Most likely, high-quality candidates aren’t looking for a flawless employer but rather one who owns up to their mistakes, faces them head-on, and moves forward swiftly.

When your company faces any negativity, like a data security breach, be proactive by explaining how the breach was uncovered, how many people it impacted, how your team overcame the obstacle, what efforts were made to help impacted employees, and what measures you’re taking to prevent any similar issues from occurring.

#MicrosoftTeams Bonus Tip:

Situations like this can be tough to address, but it’s necessary to speak with all employees as quickly as possible. Users of Microsoft Teams are able to immediately participate a threaded chat to keep everyone updated and informed on progressing situations – visible only to the team group, and so private amongst them. 

3. Your teams and customers are constantly changing.

Technology is making it easier than ever to collaborate not only among office workers but also across distributed teams. This is a major leap forward when it comes to unifying work processes and communicating time-sensitive information. However, departing employees and customers can cause major upsets when systems aren’t properly protected.

#MicrosoftTeams Bonus Tip:

Microsoft Teams allows companies to safely remove employees from their system without causing any disruptions in workflow or deleting any conversations/documents. Even if they were a team lead, an administrator can create a new leader. 

Action step: Assign one team member as an administrator or leader for changing accounts. Having one person who regularly keeps up with deleting employees, creating new team leads in chat rooms, and processing customer information can save from any future confusion or mishaps.

Don’t forget to have a backup administrator or leader trained in case your current one moves on. Keeping the process up-to-date ensures information remains in the right hands.

To find out how to get your team on Teams, click here.

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.