During the course of the employment relationship, you may need to gather sensitive employee information, such as date of birth, social security number (SSN), and medical records. When you do, you have a responsibility to protect this type of data. If this private information is leaked or stolen, the business owner could be subject to major liabilities and penalties. It is your responsibility as a business owner to keep employee data secure. Here are a few tips for protecting sensitive employee information.

Why Cybersecurity Should Be A Top Priority For Every Business With Employees

By prioritizing cybersecurity and ensuring employees are fully trained on the latest threats and best practices, businesses can protect themselves from devastating financial and reputational losses and safeguard sensitive information. There were alarming statistics of ransomware attacks in 2021 and attacks rose across the board with over 600 million attacks in 2022. This is why business owners must make cybersecurity a top priority when handling employee data. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet. Businesses often use tablets and computers to access, share, and store information. loT devices such as fitness trackers, cameras, and appliances are also connected to the same network.

  • Limit your risk of a data breach by conducting regular audits of all loT devices.
  • Install firewalls and update software and electronic devices with new anti-virus software. It will make it harder for cyber hackers to penetrate your network.
  • Encrypt critical data to protect it from third-party access. Keep noncritical functions like guest Wi-Fi on a separate network. Data encryption converts data from a readable, plaintext format into an unreadable, encoded format called ciphertext. Users and processes can only read and process encrypted data after it is decrypted. The decryption key is secret, so it must be protected against unauthorized access.

Human Error Is The Number One Cause Behind A Cyber Breach

Restricting user access to data can help the threat of human error. Restrict the number of people who have access to sensitive data. A report by Stanford Researcher found that 88% of data breaches were done caused by human error.

Only the following employees should have access to employee data:

  • Human Resource Representative
  • IT Leader
  • Managers and Executives

The less is more approach for data access is best.

Develop Formal Policies And Procedures

Develop a formal data security policy that defines the type of sensitive employee information the company will protect and how. State that employee data will only be collected for legitimate business purposes and instruct employees to inform you as soon as they suspect someone has gained unauthorized access to protected information. Additionally, clearly state that unauthorized copying, transmitting, viewing, or use of sensitive employee information is subject to discipline, up to and including termination. Train your employees to be connected to a secure Wi-fi network and to avoid public Wi-Fi networks without a VPN. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) adds security and anonymity to users when they connect to web-based services and sites. A VPN hides the user’s actual public IP address and “tunnels” traffic between the user’s device and the remote server. Avoid visiting websites that are unfamiliar. Turn the business device off and log out whenever they step away from their desk. Also, strong password policies should be incorporated.

It Is Always Better To Be Proactive

Plan ahead. Breaches can happen. Create a plan for responding to security incidents.

Here’s how you can reduce the impact on your business, your employees, and your customers:

  • Designate a senior member of your staff to coordinate and implement the response plan.
  • If a computer is compromised, disconnect it immediately.
  • Investigate security incidents immediately and take steps to close off existing vulnerabilities or threats to personal information.
  • Consider whom to notify in the event of an incident, both inside and outside of your organization. You may need to notify consumers, law enforcement, customers, credit bureaus, and other businesses that may be affected by the breach. In addition, many states and federal bank regulatory agencies have laws or guidelines addressing data breaches. Consult your attorney.

To help protect sensitive employee information, develop effective data security controls, train employees and supervisors, use proper record disposal practices, and comply with applicable laws if a breach happens.


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​Facility Protection Group is a Florida state certified systems contractor specializing in electronic security services supporting both traditional and cloud based Access Control (Card Access), Video Surveillance / CCTV, Audio / Video Intercoms, and Intrusion Alarm Systems. Founded in 2018 and located in Tampa, Florida; Facility Protection Group has assembled a team that has a tremendous wealth of industry knowledge and experience.