1/12/2009
10:52 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary

Employee Data As Valuable As Customer Info... And Even More At Risk!

Crooks are just as interested in your employees' confidential data as they are in your customers'. And according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, worker's info may be even easier to steal.



Crooks are just as interested in your employees' confidential data as they are in your customers'. And according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, worker's info may be even easier to steal.While the heart of the PwC report focused on the shocking, but hardly surprising, news that more than half of financial services firms don't have accurate customer and employee data inventories, one of the key points for small and midsized businesses in any industry is the emphasis placed on employee data.

Rightly so. There's no excuse for the laxness and cluelessness about data security revealed by the 650 financial services companies whose executives PwC surveyed. Financial services, after all, have the rep of being among the most security-savvy of industries.

The surveyed firms reported that employee data is a bit less protected than customer data.

Obviously, the problems extend to other industries -- remember Pfizer's woes when thousands of employee and vendor records were compromised?

Nor do the concerns extend to current and former employees -- as Gap found out to its dismay, job applicants provide confidential data that must be protected, too.

What, then, do big, supposedly security-centric enterprise lapses say about the rest of us?

Probably that no matter how well or how poorly we approach data security, our focus on customer protection and confidentiality exceeds the attention paid to providing the same protection to employee payroll, work history and HR files.

Give some thought to how you handle your employee's data -- and how employees handle their own records (or, if they're in HR/payroll how they handle others'.)

Are your employee files protected at the same level as customer data and, for that matter, other company information?

Are all employee files encrypted?

How much employee information is stored on mobile devices?

Asking those questions is a good start -- answering them will probably get you started on making some changes in how your employees' data is managed and secured.

Various PwC security reports can be found here

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