A Guide to Data Security in an HRIS
By Dinura Ediriweera

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Why is it a must to consider data security when selecting an HRIS?

Spreadsheets, filing cabinets, and document folders are a thing of the past even for HR departments. The development of Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) provides HR teams the tools required for multiple HR functions like employee management, attendance and time tracking, performance management, PTO/leave management and so much more.

While HR software simplifies all these functions and makes life easy for the HR team, an HRIS is also vulnerable to data privacy and security breaches similar to any other software used by your organization because important information such as employee details, contact information, payroll information, medical information, etc. are stored in the HRIS. It is a risk faced by anything and everything digital in the world right now. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure the application (HRIS) and the environment that hosts it, on-premises or cloud-based, provides you the maximum possible security for your employees’ data. 

Let’s break this down.

The Problem

With the amount of information stored in various types of applications increasing, the security concerns associated are also on the rise. These data are potential targets for individuals or groups of individuals to launch different types of cyber-attacks to retrieve sensitive information and engage in malicious activities such as demanding a ransom, selling the data to other parties, identity theft, etc. creating many privacy concerns. However, these threats are not only caused by external parties. Your data could also be at risk due to mishandling of information by employees or even by employees who are intentionally engaging in such purposes. That’s why it’s important to ensure the security of your employees’ data by selecting an HRIS which provides sufficient data security.

Things to Consider

When you are making the decision to move to an HRIS for your organization, there are two key areas that you need to analyze in order to ensure the security of your employees’ data. A secure HRIS should possess industry-standard data security controls for both the application and the hosted environment as cyber-threats could affect either of these areas. 

In terms of the application, it is important to make sure that the HRIS has a strong authentication mechanism for users in order to avoid security breaches by unauthorized individuals. Further, the application should also provide the ability to restrict different users from accessing different sections of the HRIS based on the employee role, location, etc. to reduce the risk of sensitive data being visible to irrelevant parties. 

On the other hand, the environment which hosts your application and stores all the data should also be secured with the latest security controls. These controls include regular vulnerability upgrades, physical security for servers, environmental controls, access controls, data back-ups, etc. Additionally, you can also look for compliance certificates for data possession and management such as the ISO 27001 certification which is accepted globally to deliver secure systems. 

Generally, when purchasing an HRIS, you have the option to either host the software in the IT servers of your organization or the cloud of the software provider. This decision is based on whether your organization has the IT infrastructure and the support services to maintain the software internally. Chances are, most large-scale organizations will have the resources to do so while many SMEs would prefer to host on the cloud due to the unavailability of resources. Further, the software companies will also provide the data security as a part of the package without the need to invest separately in data security if you decide to host it on-premise.

Regardless of where it is hosted, both environments should be secure to avoid unwanted trouble. If it’s the internal servers, the IT department needs to be able to accept responsibility for the security measures in place and if it’s the cloud, the software provider needs to ensure it’s secured with the latest security measures.   

However, our focus is going to be on cloud hosting since it is most likely that you have a strong IT department that can advise and assist you if you opt to host it internally. 

OrangeHRM Data Security Promise

OrangeHRM’s specialty lies in providing HR solutions that are best suited for your organization’s needs. Hence, OrangeHRM works with Rackspace, one of the leading cloud service providers in the world to host customer applications. The Rackspace secure multi-cloud and hybrid solutions help meet changing technology expectations, adopt emerging technologies, and respond to tightening compliance and security mandates. Their solutions provide compliant IT as a Service, on the latest technologies, across applications, data, security, and infrastructure tailored to the needs of the customer.

In addition to that, Rackspace holds the ISO 27001 certification, SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 certifications, and the PCI DSS compliance certification which are globally accepted industry standards for data security. 

On top of that, OrangeHRM itself is in compliance with the ISO 27001 certification, General Data Protection Regulation of the European Parliament and is also an ICO registered vendor according to the U.K. Data Protection Act of 1998. In addition to that, OrangeHRM maintains multiple security policies such as server vulnerability assessments, managed data backups, and database access controls to ensure the privacy of your data. Lastly, in terms of the application, OrangeHRM maintains industry-recognized communication security standards and multiple password protection mechanisms while also providing role/location-based access levels to employees in order to keep your data secure. 

All in all, the bottom line is that most of us in HR are not tech junkies like IT Managers. But, it’s important to know what happens in the background when you are moving from spreadsheets to an HRIS digitizing your HR department. To find out more about the OrangeHRM Data Security, read our Data Security Promise here.

If you would like to go ahead and look into more of the features offered by OrangeHRM for efficient HR management, sign up for a FREE demo here.