The recently disclosed data breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which exposed the Social Security numbers, job assignments, performance ratings and other personal identifying information of millions of government employees, and the most recent hack of the Ashley Madison website should serve as a major wake-up call for HR departments worldwide. These hacks have left many questioning whether their own systems are secure enough to prevent a future breach.
HR departments represent a high-value heist for hackers because they store all kinds of employee information, ranging from addresses to birthdates to Social Security numbers. Without the proper security measures in place, HR is an easy target for data breaches.
With BYOD (bring your own device), virtual private networks, and cloud computing and storage, most network perimeters are no longer secure. Organizations must now focus on safeguarding their internal information with data protection software and encryption technology that would make any stolen data completely useless to thieves.
While it’s imperative that organizations move quickly to strengthen their cyber defenses, it’s equally important that employees recognize their role in the war against hackers. Employees are often the weakest link as hackers find ways to influence them to gain entree to systems. The best tools are effective only when employees understand their role in keeping networks safe.
HR leaders need to know that they have a great amount of influence over the protection of their data and should work with their technology departments to implement the right tools and to thoroughly train employees on all aspects of data security.
How are you protecting your employees’ personal information and your organization’s most sensitive data?
On June 24, SHRM conducted a #Nextchat on HR cybersecurity with SHRM’s Aliah Wright and HR pros from around the world. To read all of the tweets from this informative chat, please click here.