The Role HR Professionals Play for Your Organization’s Information Security

Human resources professionals are in daily contact with some of the most sensitive information a company has in its possession – employee data. Whether these records are stored in file cabinets or online in the cloud, precautions must be taken to ensure employee data is protected from theft.

A majority of organizations may start out with paper-based records for employee files but as the organization grows, most will transition over to electronic storage of some sort as it is more efficient and less costly to maintain, organize and store files in a digital format. Unfortunately, the digital storage of these sensitive files are exactly what hackers are looking for so it is imperative that your employees – and especially your human resources team – understand the various ways hackers will attempt to break into your databases. Below are two key areas to keep an eye on in your email platform:

Pay careful attention to your email – both sending and receiving

Human resources professionals need to be especially careful when sending or forwarding emails that contain employee data or questions. Sending these sensitive emails to the wrong person or outside entity can expose is a breach of confidentiality which could result in legal action against the company.

However, these types of situations are probably less of a threat than emails that are received because HR professionals are trained to be especially careful in this area.

Receiving emails can be a different story. Hackers have become especially sophisticated at targeting employees who have access to sensitive information, like human resources professionals, to gain access to a company’s databases. Some basic things you can do to keep your email account secure are to always check the email ‘from’ field to validate the sender and to never click embedded links in messages without hovering your mouse over them first to check the URL. You can download more email security best practices here.

Understand what spear phishing means and how to avoid being ‘caught’

Spear phishing is an email targeted at a specific individual or department within an organization that appears to be from a trusted source. Rather than someone the person knows and trusts, it’s actually cybercriminals attempting to steal confidential information. Hackers will pretend to be a CEO asking for employee data or for money to be transferred. Or, the hacker will send attachments that when opened will place malware on the computer, giving an attacker almost full control over the infected machine without the employee being aware.

Making sure your human resources team – and the rest of your workforce – are properly trained to identify these types of threats are your best line of defense against these cyber criminals. Having the proper security awareness training for your staff can make a significant difference in how your information is protected. At BerganKDV, our technology team is here to help you get an idea of the health of your organization’s information security. Start here. Want to receive more technology updates like this? Subscribe now.

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