How Do You Balance Cybersecurity With Employee Privacy?

Employee Privacy
Employee Privacy

Technology plays a significant part in how businesses run in today’s world, consequently blurring the lines between employer security and employee privacy. Companies that handle sensitive data may increase and toughen security measures to keep their trade secrets and internal strategies from leaking to the competition.

By doing so, the organization’s employees may end up feeling like they lack privacy in the workplace. Other companies may choose to prioritize their employee security, thus putting the employer’s security at risk. As companies continue to embrace digital and technological changes and innovation, they must remain mindful of maintaining their data security while embracing their employee privacy concerns.

Tips on how to balance cybersecurity while remaining mindful of employee privacy

1. Understand the industry regulations

Suppose your company has to meet compliance obligations or operates in a highly regulated industry. In that case, it’s important to understand privacy laws such as timelines and how long it takes to be compliant. A good example is when in 2016, GDPR released some regulations, and businesses had only two years to become compliant before going into official effect.

Many businesses failed to meet the deadline, which exposed them to massive fines. Internationals and state-specific regulations alike are scheduled to come into play for the next few years. Businesses should ensure that they stay on top of these regulations by clearly communicating with their technology teams about what is required to meet the rules.

2. Companies need to educate their employees about privacy

Raising awareness about privacy and security needs to be part of every company’s successful privacy policy. According to a survey, many employees oversee sensitive information daily. However, various countries have different laws that vary from one to the next when handling data securely.

For instance, UK employees know about privacy regulations concerning protecting data. In contrast, only about 17% of employees don’t know anything about such laws. About 52% of employees don’t know about any privacy laws that stipulate how businesses should manage sensitive data in the US. Meanwhile, one-third of respondents in the US said they weren’t aware of any privacy policies.

The survey provides an opportunity to better train employees, especially in the United States. 67% of UK employees felt they receive excellent training to ensure that their consumers’ data is protected according to the regional regulations against 47% of employees in the US.

A good tip that companies can live by is to incorporate privacy training into any security training that they hold. Privacy training and security training are naturally connected. This is because the cybersecurity process overlaps naturally with tools designed for privacy if the correct tools are used.

3. Don’t overlook employee privacy

Whenever the topic of privacy arises, people start thinking of user privacy- in more straightforward terms, protecting the consumer’s interests. However, employee privacy also makes up an essential part of privacy. Studies show that 45% of US employees don’t think their organization is taking the proper necessary steps to ensure their personal information is protected against the 38% of employees in the UK.

With the ever-evolving technology, it’s easy for user data to fall into the wrong hands for financial gain. Technology has equally made it easier for employers to monitor their employees’ activities. The main aim of recording every employee’s activity is to ensure that critical business and customer data is protected from unauthorized access, accidental disclosures, or theft. It’s also essential to ensure that organizations comply with industry regulations.

However, in light of the new privacy requirements and renewed media attention on issues regarding privacy and cybersecurity, serious concerns have been raised about the necessity of employee privacy in the workplace. Although activity monitoring for the sake of cybersecurity is essential, it shouldn’t come at the expense of employee’s privacy.

If handled well, security stops being a matter of watching what every employee does to become a means of flagging specific behavior. Organizations need to create rules for monitoring their employee privacy and customize who has clearance to view alerts while still respecting employee privacy even when wrongdoing is detected.

4. Embrace transparency

As a business, it is crucial to clearly and constantly communicate with your employees when it comes to corporate policies. Always strive to inform employees which specific steps the company is taking to put such policies in place. This helps maintain trust with your employees by remaining transparent about what you’re monitoring, at what time and which applications or software you’re using.

5. Out with the human element in with automated alerts

Nobody looks forward to receiving calls from the human resource manager telling them to stop spending a lot of time watching videos or buying things from Amazon. Automating violation alerts helps reduce the embarrassing aspect of alerting an employee of suspicious behavior.

You can use dynamic web filters, which update automatically every time based on how the employee behaves. Dynamic web filters help enhance productivity while maintaining the employees’ privacy and giving them back their trust.

How we can help

If you or anyone you know feels like their organization doesn’t allow them enough privacy as employees, give us a call. At HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, we are committed to adequate representation and workplace fairness.

We are employment lawyers who represent employees in any industry at any employment level. We are experienced and have the necessary resources to help you win a fair settlement in court against your company.

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