Data Security Best Practices in Global Payroll

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 | Compliance and Security

In today’s advancing interconnected digital world, information is at our fingertips 24x7x365. When working with sensitive Personally Identifiable (PI) information, a fundamental part of the data required for Payroll, security is paramount. The instantaneous access of that data can have profound benefits for the payroll sector, from driving operational efficiencies to enabling informed decision making, but it is important that the basics of good data security are in place to protect against unauthorized access.

According to Gartner, Digital business risks are growing due to increasing volume, variety, velocity and value of data. Risk mitigation must be planned and managed throughout the data life cycle to address certain issues: security, privacy, trust, digital ethics, ownership, lifetime and data recovery. Security and risk management (SRM) leaders must urgently apply data security governance and use infonomics to assess the financial risks affecting each dataset. Data breaches are growing due to attacks by sophisticated nation-states, criminals and malicious insiders, as well as accidental disclosures.”

Global payroll is no different. Investigating, procuring and integrating with a Global Payroll technology requires that data to be kept secure. With increased automation becoming the new standard across the industry, more and more shared data enters into a complex workflow which sees no breaks or human intervention if there is no issue. Comprehensive due diligence is required to make sure procedures and policies are in place throughout.

Based on our own basic practices, here are a few areas of consideration that you can use to examine both your base processes, and those of any company – payroll or otherwise – who work with your data.

Establish Process and Best Practice Internally.

By process and best practice, we mean an established methodology for your (or your suppliers’) handling of data, and an established mindset of constantly reviewing and challenging the existing process. Does it do what it was created to do? Yes? Great! Could it be more comprehensive or more inclusive? Does it need to be these things? Ultimately, do you have confidence that your system is up to par? Because in the age of GDPR, the consequences or failing to protect confidential data are significant and lasting. Here are a few basic things to get your thoughts started:

  • Don’t Send Sensitive Data Through Email – Even if the email is being exchanged between employees sitting next to each other, it’s still going thousands of miles around the globe and back. Whenever you’re moving data, the risk increases because the surface area increases. Employees often do it without realizing the implications, so you must do your due diligence to make sure everyone is meeting the standards.
  • Lock Computers – This is a basic IT practice, but if you’re about to walk away from your computer, take the extra few seconds and two clicks to lock your machine to prevent others from being able to access it.
  • Adopt Sound Password Hygiene – Passwords are the defensive line, keeping would-be intruders at bay. Don’t write them down and don’t share them.

Make Technology Your Ally. Nobody wants to create thousands of accounts, which also means more password maintenance. Instead, make the technologies available work for you, deploying solutions such as Single Sign-On (SSO). There’s no need to set up multiple users for each separate system, which prevents additional administration, as well as removing the need for employees to remember multiple, different passwords.

Engage with Other Teams. Incorporating a partnership mentality makes for a closer, more efficient organization through better communication. . Integrating a new technology is a joint effort so take the time to hop on a call and get a deeper understanding of issues, parameters and requirements. Working methodologies need to be aligned across all teams so that the security layer you put in place will protect data in all teams.

Be flexible. Flexibility gives your organization agility – and, agility is key to being able to respond to threats fast and in a meaningful way. Processes must be in place, but slow, cumbersome processes will hamper the efforts to respond and potentially lead to lost data. Question existing processes and put them to the test.

Understand What You Implement. For every part of the process and for every software your organization employs to deliver data security, you need to understand it. Not necessarily down to the technical level, but fully understand how to use and adapt it as well as its place within your data security framework. Without this understanding, it becomes difficult if not impossible to ensure you have covered all possible vulnerabilities. Malicious data attacks come in many forms and ensuring your defense is complete is step one in preventing breaches.

Develop and be Guided by a Core Strategy. By preventing a reactive approach to data security, you minimize the risks of vulnerabilities being missed and covered over by obscuring systems or processes designed to fix a small or short-term issue. Establish a Data Security Strategy – this will give you a holistic handrail which will guide the implementation of strategy and systems to effect the entire business positively.

Moving Forward

As Gartner says, “Data security technologies must evolve to implement security policies across silos in a way that reduces the need for manual orchestration of policies. Leaders must use data security governance to provide the strategic prioritization to mitigate business risks resulting from threats and compliance issues.” Finding the right global payroll solution for your organization is critical. Integrating it into your organization is even more critical. It doesn’t take much for the integration to get sideways – creating and adopting some best practices as early as possible can help keep your project on a straight path to success.

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