Human Resource Security: The digital transformation, mobile services, gig economy, remote workforce, interconnectivity between internet of things has increased the complexity level of systems in an organization. This brings security as a first priority for any organization. Regarding security, it is not all about security of system from threats, hackers or ransomware attacks. When the huge amount of organizational data, employee data and client data start to accumulate, the internal human error threats to data increases. In addition, the BYOD (bring your own device) policies also widens up the window for errors.
Human resources can bring up issues like:
Weak, default or stolen passwords in organization.
Misconfiguration of IT systems.
Disposal method of confidential company information is not correctly maintained.
Accidentally sending confidential information to wrong person.
Not taking an active step to mitigate the issues in quicker way is another big issue. The problems may seem simple at one point but increase its complexity over time feeding on data of organization. Additionally, keeping data safe is not possible only through an effective system. It is a collective effort of good system, along with well informed and trained employees.
Approach for Human Resource Security
The security requires proactive approach and not reactive approach. An organization needs to take the first steps about security and not wait for threats to come in. If you would like to keep your room clean and not messy, you must close doors and windows before the storm hits you in. If the storm gets in first, you can only reduce the damage by making room safe.
It is also not fair and enough to rely on IT departments for data prevention. In fact, HR departments do play a vital role in making the employees proactive. HR department defines the role and responsibility of employees in an organization. Further, they can educate employees about the roles they have to play to keep data safe. Hence, awareness of security protocols and steps to be taken on suspicious activities or mishaps is a must for employees. Additionally, HR professionals can ensure that employees comply with organizational security policies. This requires monitoring time and again but helps protect the firm, clients, and even the workforce.
Established the polices and procedures. HR representatives and management also need to work together to investigate and address any instances of violation in rules. In a way, HR department ensures that information security policies get presented, documented, communicated, and enforced correctly.
There are different phases where the human resource security can be checked by an organization.
Code of Conduct
Talking about a Human Resource Security, it obviously starts from the initial phase of recruitment process. The background check on applicants with their consents can be an essential step. Before hiring, a pre-employment check regarding criminal history or credit reports can be carried out. The organizations with cash handling and lots of sensitive information should eliminate those who have poor credit or conviction history.
Code of Conduct
An organization could be a prospect for financial loss in the case of leak in organizational information. Furthermore, organizations can face lawsuits for not being able to protect client’s sensitive information. That is why, an organizations require code of conduct. It provides clear guidelines to prevent and safeguard confidential data. Hence, all employees need to be aware of these conducts and require signing a consent to abide by these policies. New advancements in technology, system integrations or business policy changes means that, these documents require amendments according to new complexities. Therefore, HR department, IT department and Management team should collaborate to make new amendments.
It is not new anymore to understand why organizations rely heavily on computer software, information systems and remote communication technologies. It is important that the way of communication and data sharing remains encrypted and unavailable to unauthorized personnel. The security mechanisms should be implemented in a right way and must not be too complicated to understand for everyone. HR professionals can identify gaps through cooperation with IT department, upgrade the policies according to needs and convey message via training and education to employees.
The requirements can vary according to working environment of employees. For example: it may require visiting clients with personal device, using external devices to login into organizational system remotely, or in some cases working from home or different networks. However, the sole purpose is to mitigate risks of human error and keep the data safe. HR policies becomes a liaison between IT department and employees for understanding the risks and procedures to follow for not having a reason to face crisis in future.
Having code of conduct and safe systems is just not enough. Some people are either still ignorant or find ways to play with system and violate company rules and regulations. Therefore, investigation on security violations and taking disciplinary actions for even the smallest of risks associated reasons is a must. Being ignorant means the employees will start to overlook what has been established. Security needs to be an organizational culture. Hence, any reason for its violation is just not justifiable.
Enforcing the policies may be hard but facing a lawsuit for not being compliant makes things even harder. With a signed agreement on code of conduct, HR representatives can also file a lawsuit on theft and fraud to involved employees for maintaining high level of security from its human resource. The most important level of understanding is that the code of conduct violation enforcement can last up to months or years even after the employee has left the company.
Values from Human Resources Security
Human Resource Security examines controls that apply before, during and after the hiring of human resources. This includes roles and responsibilities, recruitment, contract terms and conditions, awareness, education, training, disciplinary steps, and termination of activities. It facilitates organizations to realize a suitable human resource management system for them. Furthermore, it increases availability, integrity and confidentiality of the information that is in direct link to human resource activities. On broader sense, organizations get the values like:
Firstly, organizations have knowledge to assist in implementation of human resources management.
According to organization best human resource practices get implement.
Futher, Human Resource Security components like roles, responsibilities, awareness, education, training, termination of activities, hiring and recruitment are addressed.
Furthermore, organizations can prepare for key control components before, during and after the hiring of human resources.
Appropriate training and regular updates are what employees need to provide to safeguard the data entrusted to them. However, training and providing updates on security issues is not just enough, it must be in alignment with the organization’s security policy. Unauthorized access, disclosure, modification, destruction, or interference of data requires protection. Security and privacy rick are important for human resources to continually monitor in organization. The training for enhancement of awareness is intended to:
Prevent data disclosure.
Identify security problems and incidents.
Clarify response according to the nature of role.
The safeguard for data intends to provide:
Job descriptions and employee / applicants screening.
The awareness and training to involved employee.
Disciplinary process in an organization.
Orderly process for secure running of operations by employees.
Instructions for use of information and technology appropriately.
Information on changes in access privileges when organizational role changes and associated responsibilities.
Process for revoking access after the termination of employment.
To summarize the three main areas of human resource security can also be classified into three phases as:
Prior to Employment:
The employee roles and responsibilities within the job involvement requires clear statement. Appropriate access and use of information within the job and code of conducts if any breaches found is clarified. Established the candidate background screening and contact.
During Employment Phase:
The involved responsibilities within job roles to prevent sensitive information in an organization need to be reminded to employees in a periodic basis. Further, the awareness training and updates for securing data need to align with organizational policy and employees need to have clear understanding of threats and what damages a breach in information can bring.
Upon Termination of Employment:
The access privilege needs to be revoked immediately to prevent an unauthorized access to information. This also involves immediate return of any organizational assets held by an employee. Additionally, the nature of work involved, and potential information breach needs investigation over the course of time even after an employee has left the organization.
In context of Nepal
The leak of an information from governing bodies and banks tend to change the market needs. It also has a direct impact on customer loyalty and retention of an organization. In countries like Nepal, banks and organizations are increasing the use of technology. Consequently, the banks require human resources as they cannot fully rely on technology alone. For example: In certain cases when systems have an outage, human resources play an integral role to keep the system and technology safe. Systems can be highly vulnerable with a single piece of information.
Therefore, even in developing countries like Nepal the importance of human resource security is huge. As a result, the implementation of these policies to safeguard information provide fair and equal competition and opportunities to clients and consumers. Hence, Human Resource Security is a backbone for information security prevention.