Identity theft is a growing threat, and the truth is that much of it happens in the workplace. Whether it’s data taken from your computer directly or accessed through a wider security breach, the loss of your employees’ personal information is a major problem on multiple levels.
Fortunately, there are several concrete steps you can take to safeguard that information, along with your company’s sensitive data and customer information.
Types of Threats
When attempting to address this issue, it’s important to remember that threats can come from within the company as well as from outside. In fact, much of the theft of employee data is perpetrated by other employees, or by outsiders who gain physical access to unsecured company computers or paper files.
There is a significant threat posed by hacking into unsecured systems as well, and in attempting to protect against both kinds of threats, the emphasis is often placed on protecting customer data. While this is undoubtedly important, protecting sensitive employee information is just as vital, and it can be done by taking a few simple steps.
Importance of Education
One of the best things you can to do help safeguard your employees’ personal information is to educate them about phishing scams and other potential sources of a data breech. These include:
- the proper and safe use of personal mobile devices to access company information
- appropriate use of the internet on company-connected devices, and how to identify suspect links
- your password policy, including how often to change passwords
- not storing company data on personal mobile devices or laptops
When your employees understand why you have particular rules in place, they’re more likely to abide by them strictly, and that’s especially true when they know those rules exist to protect their own information.
Physical and Cyber Security
There are also steps your company can take to secure stored employee information, both digitally and physically. These include:
- limiting access to HR computers as well as physical files
- allowing access to all company information on a need-to-know basis rather than by default
- using ID numbers other than Social Security numbers to identify employees in payroll, health plan records, and on pay stubs
- using password protection on all company systems
- having comprehensive anti-malware and anti-virus programs installed, and making sure they’re updated regularly
- updating all operating systems regularly
- changing passwords and reclaiming all keys and badges when an employee leaves
- encrypting all electronic data
The first step towards preventing employee identity theft is becoming aware of how it can occur. If you’d like to learn more about our cyber insurance plans and the ways in which we can help you better secure your systems, contact our offices today.