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Mar 26, 2019HR Outsourcing

Payroll and Privacy: 3 Ways to Safeguard Private Information

Payroll and Privacy

Technologically speaking, we’ve never been more interconnected. It should be no surprise, then, that within this climate privacy has become such a hot topic for individuals and companies alike.

Businesses especially face tremendous difficulties because they have to worry about protecting sensitive customer information as well as sensitive employee information.

Most conversations about privacy center around search engines or social media companies because of how much information they collect about users. But we shouldn’t forget how deeply intertwined payroll and privacy are.

To protect employees, organizations should be mindful of a few best practices to avoid improper use of private information.

1. Implement Appropriate Controls

While processing payroll requires having some access to private information, like social security numbers and bank account information, limiting who sees that information is important.

One way of doing this is by implementing internal safeguards so that no single person has too much control over the payroll process. Putting too much power in too few hands increases your risk for not only human error but also fraud.

For Workday users, another way of limiting access to sensitive information is to move some aspects of payroll to a service partner offering in-application support. Not only does this help you reduce the number of internal employees with access to private information, you can also determine how much access your partner has before they begin offering services, ensuring internal and external limits are in place.

2. Prioritize System Maintenance and Security

Having the right security and system maintenance processes in place is an extension of implementing the right controls. Is your organization doing everything it can to guard against phishing attacks or suspicious network activity? And is someone in your organization turning off access to sensitive information when employees leave? This is a simple but critical way of ensuring that sensitive information is never used improperly.

3. Encourage Greater Awareness Within Your Organization

Do your employees know how to identify a phishing attempt, and do they know what to do if they’re targeted? Because payroll employees often do have access to sensitive information, it’s not uncommon for them to be the target of malicious scams, especially just before payroll is scheduled to close. Because of this, it’s critical that your employees have the training necessary to protect sensitive information.

Your employees should also know what steps they can personally take to protect that information. These include:

  • Working only from a secure network connection
  • Being aware of who can see your screen when sensitive information is open
  • Locking your computer when you step away from your desk
  • Keeping all sensitive information securely stored on work-approved computers and devices

Maintaining Proper Safeguards Is Vital for Protecting Your Employees

To pay their employees, companies must have access to personal information. But having that information also means they have a responsibility to keep it secure.

This is sometimes easier said than done, though. That’s why organizations need to make sure that safeguards are in place. Sometimes the simplest solution is to limit who has access to this information in the first place by shifting certain tasks to a service partner. But regardless of which solutions you implement, the goal is the same—to provide your employees with a secure, responsive environment in which they can flourish.