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The 4 most common HR data security issues

Common data security issues that HR departments encounter include HR software vulnerabilities and chatbots. Learn about the most common HR data threats and how to prevent them.

A company's HR department houses some of the organization's most sensitive information, including employee records. HR staff must learn about some of the most frequently occurring HR data security issues and work with IT and security staff to guard against them.

HR faces some security issues that occur across departments, including employees working remotely and workers not following security best practices. However, some security issues are more specific to HR, including chatbots and HR software vulnerabilities.

HR leaders should learn about some of the most common threats to HR data security and how HR staff can work to prevent them.

The 4 most common HR data security issues

Some HR data security threats, such as chatbots, have arisen more recently, while others have been consistent issues for some time. Here are some of the HR data security issues that occur most frequently.

1.      Remote work

Remote work is arguably one of the greatest threats to a company's security, and HR employees working outside the office makes it difficult to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive employee records. For example, an HR professional may decide to work for an afternoon at a coffee shop with unsecured Wi-Fi, which could lead to others accessing employee data.

HR management must learn how to properly handle employee data in a remote environment and ensure HR employees are following those best practices.

2.      Chatbots

HR departments are now using chatbots for recruitment, benefits process automation and employee interaction. However, chatbots bring security risks.

If employees send sensitive information through chatbot channels, the information could subsequently be exposed via web browser caches and server log files or even exploited via malware. Employees should carefully consider the data they send using chatbots to attempt to prevent future problems.

Other potential security problems include criminals compromising the chatbot system or creating a fake system to gain further network access and lure unsuspecting users into divulging sensitive information.

3.      Employee carelessness

Like other departments, HR can face security risks because of employees not following general cybersecurity best practices, which could compromise data across the company. However, HR staff are well positioned to help prevent this.

Because HR communicates often with employees about other topics, workers may pay more attention to HR messages about security and privacy. HR staff should take advantage of this and frequently remind company employees about security best practices.

4.      HR systems

Some of an enterprise's most vulnerable systems are internal and third-party, or cloud, web applications that process HR and payroll records. Laptops and other mobile devices such as HR professionals' phones and tablets are also vulnerable. Any weakness involving passwords, SQL injection or unencrypted devices presents sizable business risks.

HR staff must alert technical staff about any potential areas of concern. Computer or application vulnerabilities involving authentication, access control and even system oversight -- logging and alerting -- often surface without technical staff being aware of the problem.

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