Public Interest

How can HR managers keep applicant and employee data secure?

Human resources (HR) departments play a crucial role in an organization's success. They are responsible for managing and organizing a vast amount of employee data, including personal information, job performance, and compensation details. However, with the increasing prevalence of data breaches and cyber attacks, it's vital for HR departments to take necessary precautions to ensure that their applicant and employee data remains secure. In this article, we will discuss some of the best practices that HR departments should follow to keep their applicant and employee data secure.

  • Use Secure Passwords and Authentication

One of the most common causes of data breaches is weak passwords or the lack of authentication measures. Therefore, it's important for HR departments to use strong and unique passwords and implement two-factor authentication for all employee accounts. They should also encourage their employees to follow the same practice and change their passwords regularly.

  • Regularly Update Software and Security Patches

HR departments should ensure that all software and systems used to store and manage employee data are updated regularly with the latest security patches. They should also perform regular vulnerability scans and penetration tests to identify any weaknesses in the system and address them proactively.

  • Implement Data Encryption

Encryption is a method of transforming data into an unreadable format that can only be decrypted with the right key. HR departments should implement data encryption for all employee data, both at rest and in transit. This ensures that even if the data is intercepted, it cannot be read or used by unauthorized parties.

  • Limit Access to Sensitive Data

HR departments should limit access to sensitive employee data to only those employees who need it to perform their job functions. They should also ensure that employees have different levels of access based on their job responsibilities. For example, an HR manager may need access to all employee data, while an intern may only need access to their own information.

  • Train Employees on Data Security

HR departments should educate their employees on data security best practices and make them aware of the risks associated with data breaches. This includes training them on how to identify phishing scams and social engineering attacks and encouraging them to report any suspicious activity.

  • Monitor System Access and Activity

HR departments should monitor system access and activity logs regularly to identify any unauthorized access attempts or suspicious activity. This includes monitoring for failed login attempts, multiple logins from different locations, and changes to employee data.

  • Have a Response Plan in Place

Despite taking all necessary precautions, data breaches can still occur. Therefore, HR departments should have a response plan in place in case of a data breach. This includes identifying the source of the breach, isolating the affected data, and notifying the affected individuals and regulatory bodies.


Keeping applicant and employee data secure is crucial for any organization, and HR departments play a critical role in achieving this goal. By following the best practices mentioned above, HR departments can ensure that their employee data is secure from data breaches and cyber attacks. This not only protects the organization from legal and reputational damage but also ensures that employees' trust in the organization remains intact.