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What if the Biggest Threat to Your Company Is Sitting next to You?

Beata Green security Leave a Comment

Why HR is so important in mitigating cybersecurity threats? What can HR do to protect the company and its employees? How to build a cyber secure culture?  

Considering the fact that nearly 75% of security breaches come from inside, it’s high time for HR departments to take IT security into their hands. Cybersecurity breaches are destructive and costly for the companies, but HR can play a decisive role in minimising the risk.

It has been discovered that about 60% of fired staff steal sensitive data when they leave. Meanwhile, nearly 20% of breaches are triggered by the behaviour of careless employees. These findings stress the necessity among organisations to involve their HR departments in making the data secure by dealing promptly with employees who might be somehow related to any security violation scenarios.

untitledStarting with the initial recruitment process to further employment, HR departments should never stop being alert. System breaches are no longer a concern that cybersecurity specialists should manage alone. Apart from the technical aspect, human factors require even closer attention. Here are a few major steps that should be taken to mitigate cybersecurity risks inside a company:

Recognising troubleshooting candidates

A company’s success is determined by the efficiency of its employees. That’s why it’s very important to learn about the candidate before he/she joins the team. A candidate with malicious intent is not going to make this known at the interview, so the HR team needs to dig deeper; perform some background investigations, such as criminal records and credit reports. It is legal to look for this information. HR needs to analyse the candidate’s social media profile to make sure there is nothing suspicious about their personality. If you find something vague or puzzling, don’t be afraid to ask questions and check their reaction.

As soon as the suitable candidates start work, it is also important to ensure they have not brought with them any confidential data from the previous workplace.

Training Newcomers to Follow the Security Policies

Internet securityEither intentionally or unintentionally, your employees can expose sensitive information or open the gates for hackers. Starting with money losses to lawsuits, the outcomes can be devastating for your company. All the employees who join the team should be thoroughly trained to follow the security policies set by the company. Every employee should receive clear instructions regarding web browsing, storing and transmitting sensitive data. The document with the instructions should be signed as an agreement and HR need to make sure the employees understand each point clearly as well as understand the risks of failing to comply.

Such training will cover the instructions on how to generate and store passwords, transmit sensitive data, use WI-FI networks and cloud services. As new technologies emerge, employees should also be taught how to use them properly without leaving any opportunities for data leakage.

However, it’s not enough just to say that following the instructions is necessary. You need to show the possible risks, both for the company and for its employees. For example, companies often hire specialists who perform fake attacks on the system to detect any vulnerable gateways and irresponsible employees.

Performing regular security training seminars is vital not only for the on-boarding stage but also throughout the employment period. The team members should be able to spot any malicious activity targeting their accounts, emails or systems.

Off-boarding procedures

As mentioned earlier, more than half of fired employees decide to steal some valuable information, taking it with them. HR needs to develop procedures, based on which the risk of data leakage is minimised. As soon as you notify an employee about the dismissal, limit his/her access to sensitive data. However, the employer must comply with legal regulations to make sure the employee’s rights have not been violated.

Hiring the best cybersecurity experts

As an HR expert, you need to employ technical cyber specialists with extended experience in securing systems and sensitive data. As security breaches tend to be very costly for small and big businesses alike, investing in those who can protect your company against such breaches is vital. HR should not just find people with a broad expertise in cyber security but also those who are be able to teach non-technical staff to follow the security guidelines.

What you will need from your cybersecurity personnel is to secure all the remote communication channels, ensure that sensitive files are encrypted and that all the necessary security precautions have been made. In partnership with HR, they should create policies that will dictate the rules about how the employees can access the system from home or from anywhere else.

Always be alert to Threat

alert signIt’s one of HR’s main responsibilities to know the roles of everyone in the company. Knowing the possible sources of a security breach or knowing who can address the problem as soon as possible is very important. HR should always be able to track those who have access to sensitive data.


Summing Up

Cybersecurity is not just limited to your company. Even the personal lives of your employees can be affected as a result of a breach in security. It is the task of HR to educate each and every employee that following security guidelines does not just make you better for your company – it also makes you a more reliable individual for your family, friends, yourself and your future employers. They need to understand this clearly and know why it really matters.

Dealing with cybersecurity risks might be challenging but, by following these guidelines, HR specialists can bring innovative staff management strategies to make positive changes.




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Beata Green

Beata GREEN is Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.

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