When it comes to managing employee documents, there are a few things that HR departments need to keep in mind. After all, these documents often contain sensitive information that needs to be protected. Here are 13 tips for secure document management for HR departments.
1. Educate your employees
Make sure that your employees are aware of the importance of keeping employee files secure. They should know how to properly handle physical files, as well as how to access and share electronic files securely. You might also want to consider conducting regular security training to keep your employees up to date on best practices.
Your employees constitute your biggest cybersecurity threat and, as such, you need to ensure that they are fully aware of the importance of security and have the tools and training necessary to protect your company’s data. This is especially important when it comes to HR data, as you are responsible for safeguarding all of your employees’ most sensitive personal information.
2. Use a central repository
Your HR department should have a designated, central place where all employee files are stored. This could be an electronic system, a physical filing cabinet, or both. Storing files in one place will help to keep them organized and secure. You should also make sure that access to this central repository is tightly controlled. Having strong permissions in place to make sure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive employee information will help to keep your data secure.
3. Keep physical and electronic files separate
If your HR department uses both physical and electronic file storage, it’s important to keep the two types of files separate. This will help to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information. It will also make it easier to track who has accessed which files, and when.
4. Use secure file sharing tools
When sharing employee files electronically, be sure to use a secure file sharing tool. There are a number of options available, and your HR department should choose one that offers robust security features. This could include encryption, password protection, and the ability to track who has accessed the files.
Any file-sharing that is done should be done over a secure network connection. In the age of remote work, where HR employees are working from home, this means using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN will help to keep your data safe as it travels between devices and networks.
5. Use strong passwords
Whenever possible, use strong passwords to protect employee files. A strong password should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid using easily guessed words or phrases, such as “password” or “123456.”
You might also want to consider using a password randomizer to create strong, unique passwords for each of your files.
6. Encrypt sensitive data
If you’re storing sensitive employee data electronically, be sure to encrypt it. This will help to protect the data if the file is ever compromised. There are a number of different encryption algorithms that you can use, so be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the level of security you need.
7. Use access control measures
In addition to encryption, you should also consider using access control measures to protect employee files. This could include setting up user accounts with different levels of permissions so that only authorized personnel can access certain files. You might also want to consider using biometric authentication, such as fingerprint scanners, to restrict access to physical files.
8. Create backups
Be sure to create regular backups of all employee files, both physical and electronic. This will help to ensure that you can recover the data if it is ever lost or corrupted. Store the backups in a secure location, such as an offsite storage facility or a cloud-based backup service.
Having a disaster response plan in place is also an important part of secure document management. This plan should detail how you will recover employee files in the event of a fire, flood, or other disasters.
9. Keep your systems up to date
Make sure that all software and hardware used to store employee files is kept up to date. This includes ensuring that you have the latest security patches installed. Having outdated systems is one of the leading causes of data breaches, so it’s important to stay up-to-date.
You should also consider using security tools, such as intrusion detection and prevention systems, to help protect your systems from attacks.
10. Destroy old files
When employee files are no longer needed, be sure to destroy them properly. This includes shredding physical files and permanently deleting electronic files. Simply deleting files from your computer is not enough – you need to use a data destruction tool that will overwrite the data so that it cannot be recovered.
11. Keep an audit trail
Keep track of who has accessed employee files and when. This information can be useful in the event that a file is compromised, as it can help you to identify who may be responsible. In some cases, it may also be required by law.
12. Review your security measures regularly
Your HR department’s security needs may change over time, so it’s important to review your security measures on a regular basis. This will help to ensure that they are still effective and appropriate for your current needs. You might consider bringing in an outside consultant or even enlisting the help of your IT department to ensure that you are keeping up-to-date with the latest security threats.
13. Work with a reputable provider
When choosing a vendor to help you with employee file management, be sure to work with a reputable provider. They should offer robust security features and be able to meet your specific needs. It’s also important to make sure that they have a good reputation for customer service in case you need any assistance.
These are just a few tips to help you get started with secure employee file management. By following these tips, you can help to keep your employees’ data safe and secure.