Data breaches and cyber attacks are becoming more and more common as our world gets more digital. HR departments are not exempt from going digital and it is vital for HR to be prepared. The most sensitive data is held within HR systems and there is a duty to keep that information secure. Understanding the difference between HR data integrity and HR data security will help you create effective data policies.
HR Data Integrity
Data integrity is the process of ensuring data is accurate, reliable, and consistent. Policies should be developed to create consistent practices throughout the full data life cycle. The life cycle includes initial data entry all the way to when it is no longer needed. An easy example of a data life cycle would be the employee’s personal data, which is needed to process payroll. It begins when the employee is onboarded and data like home address, birth date, SSN, and direct deposit information is entered into the HRIS. It continues into data processing which would be the use of the data to create an output, like the employee’s pay. Making sure the data entry point is consistent and reliable is key.
Data analytics is within the life cycle as well. Data integrity will improve the reliability of your HR metrics and reduce the risk of your analytics being inaccurate. Metrics and analytics are only as accurate as the data source it comes from. Additionally, HR should support integrity even when calculating the metrics themselves. Using an automated tool, like an HR dashboard, takes human error out of the equation as it will export and calculate the data consistently.
Once the employee leaves a company, HR’s duty to data integrity doesn’t stop. This is when data preservation is key. There are many federal and state guidelines that state how long employee’s files need to be held. Make sure to do your research thoroughly and work with your legal counsel to determine what your policies should be.
HR Data Security
Data security speaks to ensuring your data is securely stored and protected from unauthorized access. It is vital to ensure HR’s data remains private and out of the hands of potential hackers. Data security should be apart of every step of the data life cycle as well.
It is impossible for HR to maintain data security on its own. HR should partner with IT and legal to implement the appropriate securities. IT should be responsible for putting in place any system encryption or firewalls needed. Legal counsel can help create policies for employees to follow, like sharing documents via email internally or externally. It is also important to work with the vendors of your HR systems and stress the importance of data security. If you’re doing an RFP for a new vendor, ask what their data protections are and how those protections ensure the security of your data.
HR data integrity and HR data security go hand in hand. Establishing the best policies and practices for your organization can support both and minimize risk. Sign up for a free demo of our HR dashboard to see how it can help you achieve data integrity and security.