HR data security stats: securing your people data

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Jordie Black
September 21, 2022
Updated on:

The HR technology landscape is expanding. This is driven by the need for HR professionals to be more strategic, the increasing complexity of the workforce, and the ever-changing regulatory environment.

As a result, HR technology vendors offer a comprehensive range of products and services. This includes everything from  applicant tracking systems and performance management platforms to learning management systems and employee engagement software. The goal is to help HR professionals automate routine tasks, collect and analyse data, and engage employees throughout the employee lifecycle.

However, with this expansion comes an increased level of risk regarding data security. With more organisations using cloud-based HR systems, there is a greater chance of exposing sensitive employee information.

The importance of protecting this data cannot be overstated. If it falls into the wrong hands, it could be used to harm individuals or even sabotage businesses. Fortunately, there are steps that HR professionals can take to work with vendors and protect people's data. A few key considerations include:

  • Establishing clear expectations for data security
  • Conducting due diligence before selecting a vendor
  • Creating a data retention policy
  • Regularly monitoring vendor compliance

This post explores why HR needs to be concerned about data security and offers practical tips for keeping people's data safe. You'll learn:

  1. Overview: What types of software fall under the umbrella of HR technology
  2. Depth: What data is typically collected by HR technology platforms
  3. Risks: The importance of data security for HR professionals
  4. Recommendations: How to keep this data secure
  5. Solutions: How to select and work with the right vendors to protect people's data.

HR technology platforms play a critical role in modern businesses. They help streamline processes and improve decision-making. However, they also collect large amounts of sensitive data. HR professionals must understand the risks associated with this data and take steps to protect it.

Let's dive in.

What is HR Tech?

HR tech is a term used to describe the various technologies that are used by HR professionals in the course of their work. This can include everything from applicant tracking systems and background checking solutions to payroll software. HR tech has become increasingly important as businesses rely more heavily on technology to manage their operations.

The right HR tech solution can help businesses to automate and streamline their HR processes, saving time and money. It can also help to improve data accuracy, reduce the risk of human error and improve compliance with regulatory requirements. With the ever-growing list of available HR tech solutions, businesses must carefully consider their needs before selecting a solution.

Data Security in HR Tech

Data security is a significant concern for businesses that use HR tech solutions. This is because HR tech solutions collect and store large amounts of sensitive data about people. This data can include everything from contact information and job titles to performance ratings and salary information.  If this data falls into the wrong hands, it could be used to harm individuals or even sabotage businesses.

As our adoption of these tools grows, it's essential to stop and consider how we're safeguarding people's data. This is something that HR professionals need to be aware of when selecting and using HR tech solutions.

Why is it important to take data breaches seriously?

In 2017, a credit reporting agency, Equifax, was hit with a data breach that affected 143 million people. The organisation had failed to encrypt its sensitive data appropriately, allowing hackers to access social security numbers, birth dates, and addresses.

The Equifax breach is a reminder of the importance of data security. As a human resources professional, you safeguard your employees' sensitive information. If it falls into the wrong hands, it could be used for identity theft or malicious purposes. To protect your company and your employees, it is essential to take data breaches seriously and put adequate security measures in place. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your company's valuable data remains safe and secure.

The importance of data security has been highlighted time and again in the wake of high-profile breaches. However, it's not just big businesses that are at risk. Small and medium-sized organisations are just as likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. As a human resources professional, you must be aware of the risks posed by data breaches and take steps to protect your organisation's data. Here are five reasons why data breaches should be taken seriously:

1. Data breaches can have a significant financial impact. The average data breach cost is $3.92 million, and the costs can continue to mount long after the initial incident.

2. Data breaches can damage your organisation's reputation. Once confidential employee information is leaked, recovering from the breach's publicity can be challenging.

3. Data breaches can lead to regulatory penalties. If your organisation suffers a data breach, you may be subject to fines from regulators such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

4. Data breaches can cause disruptions to business operations. A significant data breach can result in lost productivity and downtime as you work to contain the breach and restore normal operations.

data hr stats breach

5. Data breaches can put your employees at risk. When employee data is leaked, it puts your employees at risk of identity theft and other crimes. Data breaches are costly, disruptive, and potentially damaging your organisation's reputation. As a human resources professional, you must be aware of the risks posed by data breaches and take steps to protect your organisation's data.

stats hr data breach lost business

How do adopt HR tech and keep safe from attack?

Whenever a data breach makes headlines, it's natural to feel a sense of unease about the safety of our personal information. However, it's important to remember that data breaches can happen to any organisation, regardless of size or industry.

The key is to take proactive steps to minimise the risk of a breach occurring in the first place. One way to do this is by investing in HR technology. By automating workflows and storing data in a secure cloud-based system, HR professionals can help to reduce the chances of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. In other words, while data breaches are always a cause for concern, they shouldn't stop us from leveraging the power of HR tech to improve our work processes.

One of the best ways to do this is to ensure the vendors you're working with handle their data correctly.

Regarding data security, it's important to remember that prevention is always better than cure. By taking steps to reduce the risk of a breach occurring in the first place, you can help to keep your organisation's valuable data safe and secure.

Trusting your data is safe can be challenging without vetting the technology firms and processes in place. ISO 27001 provides an organisation's information security management system (ISMS). Organisations must undergo a rigorous auditing process.

Final thoughts

No organisation is immune to data breaches. The consequences can be devastating, whether it's a malicious attack or a simple mistake. For businesses, the loss of customer data can lead to reduced sales, legal liabilities, and damaged reputations. And for employees, a data breach can mean the loss of personal information, such as social security numbers and credit card numbers.

That's why HR professionals need to take data breaches seriously and work to prevent them from happening. By being proactive and educating employees about security risks, HR can help protect. When entrusting your data to a technology firm, it can be challenging to know where to turn. With so many options available, it can be hard to determine which company is right for you.

However, one way to narrow your choices is to look for firms accredited by  This standard provides a framework for an organisation's information security management system (ISMS). Organisations must undergo a rigorous auditing process to meet the required certification standards.

As a result, you can be confident that any firm that has been ISO 27001 certified has taken the necessary steps to protect your data. Consequently, when entrusting your data to a technology firm, ISO 27001 certification should give you peace of mind.3the organisation and its employees from the potentially devastating effects of a data breach.

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