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What HR Professionals Need to Know About Cybersecurity

What HR Professionals Need to Know About Cybersecurity

HR and Cyber Risk Management

It might seem your HR department has very little to do with cyber risk management. However, because your team manages the onboarding and disciplinary policies for your organization, understanding the implications of cybersecurity has become a top priority for HR professionals. 

More HR managers are working in hand with IT departments to find affordable, effective solutions to implement employee data permissions policies, employee training on cybersecurity policies and procedures, and even protocols to respond to cyber events when employees are involved. Here we review what you need to know about cybersecurity.


Possible Implications of Regulatory Compliance

The introduction of privacy regulations by U.S. states such as California, Illinois and New York have set the tone for how organizations can collect and use consumer data. That leaves organizations potentially vulnerable to fines, penalties, and even lawsuits regarding improper management of data. These growing risks point to the need for organizations to develop formalized training at the point of onboarding to reduce risks for cyber breaches and data disclosures.

The Onboarding Process

HR professionals are taking on privacy regulation training for employees who engage with data on a day-to-day basis. When determining who should be accountable when it comes to privacy and data rule compliance training, HR fits the bill. First, you can streamline the process and develop cybersecurity training. Second, you can set up policies to follow through when there are employee compliance issues.  

Collaborative Effort for Data Violations

IT, HR, and your senior managers must work collaboratively to create a data incident response plan. When employees are involved, HR must have policies in place to manage disciplinary actions or address holes in the training procedures surrounding data. Because there is an overlap between HR and IT roles in this newly developing area, the two departments need buy-in from top-level management to receive the support needed to implement new initiatives. This is particularly important for handling events involving employees. With buy-in from senior management, there is a clearly defined understanding of roles regarding the enforcement of data practices and policies in hand with consistent responses to data violations.

Managing Access Rights

HR departments also play a role in defining access and controls to protect sensitive data. An understanding of each employee’s roles and responsibilities helps determine what level of authorization is required to perform jobs effectively. Defining what data is critical to the tasks of an employee sets the criteria for who needs to access what. 

Ideally, access and controls are determined for each new job role and then applied when a new hire comes on board. This is also important during the offboarding process to ensure access is denied immediately upon termination or resignation.  

Cybersecurity Best Practices: HR & IT

The IT department is well suited to address cybersecurity best practices, but this information must be shared with HR. This ensures both teams are in synch with procedures and policies that protect the organization against malicious acts. Terminated employees for example present a threat which means the IT department must be involved in termination to change access rights promptly.

Incident Response Plans

Data disclosures and breaches both intentional and accidental can lead to financial damages. Whether it is through legal actions or reputational harm that leads to loss of consumer trust, data closures and breaches can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. For non-profit organizations, it can have long-lasting impact on levels of trust.

An incident response plan defines who is responsible and how those responsible respond. For example, when a former employee wants their information, your department receives the request. Therefore, you need a process that ensures all functions related to the request are handled properly. 

On the other hand, a cyber incident would be IT’s responsibility. They would manage disclosure events and call in a third-party investigator. Once the responsible party is identified, IT would pass on the information to HR who would use company policies to direct what disciplinary or remedial actions are required.

Creating a Cybersecurity Culture

Introducing a cybersecurity culture ensures employees understand the importance of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity culture teaches each employee how their actions can impact the organization’s security. Training covers how to practice good cybersecurity hygiene to mitigate cyber risk including:

  • Phishing and password security
  • Handling implementation of new technology
  • Best practices for bring-your-own-device and remote access
  • Consequences for non-compliant behavior

When cybersecurity plays a major role in company culture, it helps keep the risk of breaches and disclosures top of mind.

HR departments must consider how they can assist in cyber risk management planning. Defining the roles and responsibilities of your department and how you can work with IT can ensure you create a streamlined policy and effective incident response plan. A collaborative effort is the best way to create a cybersecurity policy that effectively mitigates risk.

About the Author

Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.

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