Dialing in on How Personally Identifiable Information is Handled

Julie Shenkman
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Preparing for the threat of data breaches is no longer just the responsibility of the IT department. Information security affects every department. From business development and customer services to network systems, data protection is necessary to maintain operations. Safeguard your business critical information with strategic human resources planning focused on keeping personally identifiable information confidential for both your employees and your customers.

A data breach can happen at any time, prompting the company to identify and control it, restore business functions and alert employees and customers. Because this affects all workers, human resources planning should include a collaborative effort between the different departments to help safeguard time-sensitive and personal information.

Companies should begin their planning by evaluating the security tools and procedures already in place for data protection. Incorporate triggers that alert key individuals when access is granted to personal and confidential company records. Establish appropriate processes for granting employees access to information. Allow access to human resource records to a select few trusted employees and monitor their use on a daily basis.

Use a system of checks and balances to protect your company's personnel and customer files. You may want to considering hiring outside experts to audit company security and compliance in order to reduce the risk of data breaches. Each company is different, so senior management should create a flexible and suitable plan that is designed for data protection and ease of use by the human resources department.

The personnel within your company's human resources department play a key role in data protection. Therefore, it is important that you involve these people in your plans to prevent data breaches. The role of the human resources department has changed drastically along with the evolving business climate. These employees do much more than just hire new employees and administer benefits. A successful human resources department is involved in all areas of the business, including data protection. Because of this experience, human resource personnel often have a clear understanding of the needs and expectations of both the company itself and the employees.

Encourage collaboration between departments within your company to establish a security plan. Human resources personnel should be working closely with information technology as well as collaborating with legal and compliance, communications and executive management to compile, test, evaluate and measure security efforts. The experts in each department can offer input and suggestions on how to secure personally identifiable information as it pertains to their individual areas and the company as a whole.

In the event a data breach occurs, companies with a clearly defined security and data protection plan are better able to minimize the damage and leaks of sensitive data. Although the outcome of a data breach is never positive, the lessons learned can help companies improve processes, procedures and planning to safeguard the future of the company, its employees and its customers.

 

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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