Precautions To Take With Employee Data

As we move towards a more integrated digital work environment, data safety precautions must be put in place. More so, when the information is related to the individuals who make up the workforce of the organisation. Before the advent of the internet and digital work environment, classified information was locked away from individuals who were not supposed to access it. But, things have changed now, and if enough security measures are not taken, crucial (and personal) data related to employees can be accessed by unauthorised individuals. Information is power, and in the wrong hands it can do a lot of damage both to the employee and the organisation. Hence, it is essential that employers take necessary precautions to make sure that they are doing enough to protect against sensitive employee data theft.

Draft a privacy policy

It is important that you have a privacy policy in place that details the type of information every personnel can or cannot access based on their need and the provincial and federal law in place. Also, create processes around:

  • how the organisation will protect employee records,
  • who will be given access to employee information,
  • what level of access will be given to authorised users,
  • how the company will dispose of irrelevant and obsolete data.

Ensure that there is a process in place that will alert management or a privacy team about any violations or problems that might occur.

Maintain separate records

While company managers are granted access to job and performance information of their team, they should not have access to critical information like an employee’s medical information. That’s why you should keep personal information separate from employment and performance data. Make sure that HR records are stored in a contained area that’s approachable to only few people or HR personnel who need the data. It is important that you follow necessary compliances, like PIPEDA regulations for verifying that authorised service vendors/providers are storing and transmitting sensitive employee information in a secure fashion. Also, it is extremely important for organisations to keep reevaluating their procedures related to trash management, in order to ensure that sensitive and confidential information does not inadvertently end up at the wrong place and in the wrong hands.

Good privacy policy is equivalent to good business

The market place is an increasingly competitive place. Businesses have a heavy reliance on personal information to identify and stay in touch with customers and to poach new employees. Personal information helps businesses seek out more competent employees and this helps them get more traction as a business. In order to ensure a safe and a productive workplace, businesses need to make sure that no information is being compromised. When employees know that their privacy is valued and secure, they will want to stick around for a longer time. This increases the respect and trust for the employer in the long term.

There a number of privacy challenges that businesses face. The key is to keep evaluating your processes and strengthening them at least annually. To understand more about privacy laws in Canada at workplace get in touch with Prowse Chowne.