Keeping employee data safe – Where do you start?

The past decade has seen a massive increase in the perceived importance of data security. From the GDPR to data management courses, it’s no longer an issue that employers can continue to ignore.

As a result, ensuring the safety and security of employee data is an essential responsibility for businesses of all sizes. Here, we’ve compiled some fundamental steps to consider when developing a plan to keep employee data safe.

1. Identify what data needs to be protected

The first step in keeping employee data safe is to identify what data needs to be protected and where it is stored. This might include personal information, such as names, addresses, and other personal information, as well as sensitive information such as salary and performance evaluations.

2. Digitise

If you don’t yet have a digital document management solution in place, then it will be highly beneficial to put one in place. If you still have paper documents, these can be digitised using a document scanning service.

3. Establish policies and procedures

Develop policies and procedures for handling employee data, including guidelines for accessing and using the data, as well as protocols for disposing of it when it is no longer needed. See government guidelines to make sure that your employee data policy is in line with the law. 

4. Implement security measures

To protect employee data, it is essential to implement appropriate security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption. Consider also implementing measures to prevent unauthorised access, such as password protection and two-factor authentication.

5. Train employees

Ensure that all employees are aware of the importance of protecting employee data, and are trained on how to do so. You’ll want to include training on how to recognize and report potential security threats, as well as how to handle data in a secure manner.

6. Regularly review and update policies

It’s crucial that you regularly review and update policies and procedures to ensure that they remain current and effective. This might include conducting regular audits or implementing new technologies as they become available.

7. Consider insurance

It’s often a good idea to purchase insurance, to protect against the financial consequences of a data breach. Your business insurance may already cover this, but it’s important to clarify this.

8. Establish a plan for responding to a data breach

In the event of a data breach, it is essential to have a plan in place for responding quickly and effectively. Consider taking steps such as informing affected employees, working with law enforcement, and implementing additional security measures to prevent further breaches.

Clearly, there are a number of relatively simple steps that businesses can take to protect their employee’s data. These consist of identifying what data needs to be protected, establishing policies and procedures, implementing security measures, training employees, regularly review and updating policies, considering insurance, and having a plan for responding to a data breach. Taking this simple yet structured approach should massively limit the chances that something negative happens to your employee’s data.