Sensitive information is being hosted in digital format with increasing frequency. A recent report from SkyHigh Networks analyzed usage data from millions of users. The analysis concluded that the average organization uses 1,083 cloud applications as part of their organizational workflow. What’s more, 16 percent of files uploaded to data storage services contain highly sensitive data.
The cost of a data breach can place a financial burden on organizations. The average cost of a breach can range from $2 million for incidents that compromise fewer than 10,000 records to nearly $7 million for incidents that compromise more than 50,000 records.
To mitigate these costly breaches, more and more companies are migrating their data to the cloud. The benefits of the cloud ecosystem have led to the widespread development of platforms and applications designed to serve the needs of a broad spectrum of functional areas across an organization, including a hiring team.
What does this mean for hiring managers?
Companies use a variety of cloud-based talent platforms and human capital management systems to feed and extrapolate insights that help them better manage their workforces. Thus, hiring managers are responsible for maintaining a variety of records that pertain to future and current employees. Sensitive data, including social security numbers, addresses, and background-check results, are routinely stored by hiring teams.
What can companies do to keep their hiring data secure?
Businesses should place a priority on keeping their hiring data secure. Cloud vendors provide the tools and framework for a solid data management plan, but there are still best practices to keep in mind in order to make sure data is properly secured.
Impose proper permissions.
Password privileges help keep confidential or business-critical information in the hands of key stakeholders, rather than available to a larger pool of logins. Data breaches are often thought to happen through “the back door.” This is an unfortunate misconception. In many cases, breaches occur as a result of an employee allowing inadvertent access directly through the front door. If an employee leaves the company or takes a company laptop home with them, it becomes that much more difficult to control a company’s IT infrastructure.
The cloud enables hiring teams to update permissions in real time, at the vendor or application level. More streamlined rule creation allows for some flexibility, ensuring each employee has access to the data they need to do their daily job.
Additionally, many companies deploy a “BYOD” (bring your own device) policy. IT professionals have to be clear about what personal devices are appropriate for office use, as well as what and how personal data will be monitored. This way, if an employee leaves the organization or moves to a department with different permissions, all parties involved are clear on what data will need to be wiped from their devices.
Automate network security.
Network security is a real issue; however, false alarms do occur. Companies spend an average of $1.3 million per year on labor costs associated with following up on inaccurate intelligence. Dealing with false positive and false negative alerts is incredibly time-consuming. To put it into perspective, an organization typically gets 17,000 security alerts per week, according to the previous report. More than 80 percent of those are false, and only 4 percent end up being investigated at all.
Automating aspects of an organization’s security monitoring and update cycles keeps IT and cybersecurity professionals focused on responding to actual threats in real time. In many cases, a cloud vendor’s platform includes built-in security and data management functions. This helps optimize an IT team’s resources and reinforces healthy network security protocols.
Always encrypt sensitive data.
Data should never be left open and readable in cloud storage. Cybersecurity professionals have begun to establish processes in order to better manage the transient and free-flowing nature of information. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is a set of tools, software, and processes that prevent misuse or unauthorized access of sensitive data as it moves across devices (also known as “data in transit”) or online. As mentioned above, because many employees regularly share and upload files containing regulated data to cloud platforms, it’s vital for administrators to confirm their cloud service providers encrypt data.
DLP can change the way different end-users interact with the data, as well as encrypt the data to minimize the profitability of a malicious breach. This way, even if someone were to unlawfully access and read the information, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to decipher and use it.
So, your company’s hiring data at risk? Only if you let it be. Hiring managers have access to data that is subject to inherent risk due to its sensitive nature. Smart cloud deployments safeguard sensitive data. HR and IT departments have a responsibility to work together to ensure the proper tools and processes are in place to keep employee and prospective employee data secure in the cloud.