HR manager speaking to employee showing HR playing an important role in data protection
Three Reasons Why HR Is Important for Data Protection by Kayla Matthews, Tech Journalist at Productivity Bytes

Three Reasons Why HR Is Important for Data Protection

Believe it or not, sometimes data breaches occur from within a company. The situations and reasons why vary, but employees leaving a company with a thumb drive full of sensitive data can be crippling for THE business and the people the data belongs to. The issues could be anything from money to drama in the workplace. Regardless of what’s going on, a human resources department can help.

Not all internal data breaches occur out of malicious intent, though — some of it revolves around viruses or just not being as vigilant as an employee should. Ignorance or flippancy about such an essential prospect as data could destroy a business, so knowledge can also be a powerful tool that HR can help solve. To get more in-depth about this topic, here are three reasons why it may be wise to get HR involved from the start.

1. GDPR compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR is part of the European Union’s law to protect more data. The law exists to help those the data belongs to, giving them rights to privacy as well as strength to fight against companies who use their data carelessly. If a data breach occurs, the company is held accountable for everything lost.

With GDPR in place, HR almost has to intervene. Part of GDPR is keeping everyone informed on what their data is being used for. HR ensures that user’s data is only being used for what the original owner intended and agreed to. While the process is lengthy, it saves a lot of legal trouble and potential theft later on.

2. Exit strategies

While many data breaches will occur without an employee trying to hurt the company, these sorts of situations can happen. Having a plan in place before an employee leaves voluntarily or is asked to leave can keep everyone on level ground. The way an exit strategy is handled can differ depending on the company and the nature of their work, but keeping to a set of expectations going in should be more universal.

The pillars of an exit strategy should be put in place as soon as the employee joins the company, ensuring as few misunderstandings as possible. In fact, keeping good communication and appropriate company culture can help breaches like this from ever happening. Regardless, you can’t trust everyone, so restricting access on different levels for everyone may be worth the hassle and extra work.

3. Privacy policies

Most of the GDPR has to do with privacy. Part of ensuring people know what they’re getting into is having the HR department create a privacy policy early on. This way, users know exactly what they’re giving away and what they can do if their rights are infringed. A company-wide privacy policy is also another layer of accountability on the company’s behalf if something goes wrong.

At the same time, a privacy policy can help the company if the worst were to happen. The policy makes sure there’s evidence of agreements — just in case someone tries to lie about what the company does. Having formal documentation for court purposes can put the truth in the company’s hands and help out when bad times roll around.

HR and data

When one thinks of data protection, they may consider an IT department as a critical piece. While IT is very important, those in HR are not to be forgotten. The HR department handles the human side of the business, allowing the employees to hopefully have a more stress-free time of their work. Keeping everyone informed and up to date is part of the task and very important when it comes to keeping information safe.