The Importance of Protecting Employee Information When Recruiting Remotely

In compliance with federal and state privacy laws, it is the duty of employers to safeguard the personal data of their employees. Nevertheless, certain aspects of these laws prove inadequate especially with regards to remote work arrangements.

Presented in this article is a summary of the regulations governing data privacy in addition to clarifying the distinctions between data privacy and security. We will also discuss some best practices that businesses can implement to improve the safety of remote recruitment activities.

What is the precise meaning of data privacy?

Data protection grants individuals the authority to decide who has access to their data, when it is accessed, and under what conditions. Personal information such as location data, contact details, browsing history, and financial records are particularly crucial when it comes to safeguarding privacy.

As employers engaging in remote hiring, it is our obligation to maintain the confidentiality of our employees’ personal data and ensure that only authorized personnel have access to it as stipulated by their employment agreement.

The principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability form the foundation of data privacy.

It is crucial that all user information is securely encrypted and kept confidential to restrict access to only authorized personnel. It is particularly imperative that employees’ personal data is only accessible to the individual who created the record and not disclosed to others.

Data integrity refers to the assurance that no alterations have been made to any recorded or unprocessed information. Employers are responsible for implementing measures that provide employees with reassurance that their confidential data is protected against both intentional and unintentional interference.

The provision of authorized personnel with quick and consistent access to their data is the subject of this component of data privacy.

What makes Data Privacy essential?

Initially, data is a resource that can be utilized in various ways.

According to The Economist in 2023, data has overtaken oil as the most valuable commodity on the market. Businesses such as Meta and Google rely on our data for their continued growth and success. Unfortunately, there are online enterprises and individuals that employ illegal hacking methods to illegally access personal information.

Unauthorized access to additional online accounts can occur as a result of the sale of personal information to outside entities, such as advertisers or hackers. To safeguard your employees’ information, it is crucial to establish stringent security protocols.

Prevent regulatory fines.

Failure to handle sensitive information securely can result in penalties for violating federal and state regulations. Employers must comply with data privacy laws when handling and storing employee data, with any violations potentially leading to significant financial consequences.

Upholds Trust in the Workplace

When remote workers are assured that their data is being safeguarded, it can boost loyalty and job satisfaction, ultimately benefiting the company in the long term.

Data Privacy versus Data Security: Everything You Must Know

While it is often used interchangeably, “data privacy” and “data security” are distinct concepts, with separate objectives. It is essential to recognize the key difference between the two, as they should not be mistaken. Hence what sets data privacy and data security apart?

To preserve the privacy of user data, third parties should be prohibited from accessing the personal information provided by users. Conversely, data security aims to ward off intentional or accidental breaches of data.

Nevertheless, there may be some similarity in the strategies employed to safeguard personal data. Encryption of user data is a prevalent method that ensures both privacy and security.

Key Facts about Data Privacy Laws and Regulations Every Business Should be Aware of

Companies must comply with all relevant data privacy regulations, else they may face penalties.

The EU’s GDPR: Latest Data Privacy Law

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union is the most well-known data privacy law, offering protection to the personal data of individuals residing within the European Union, particularly employee data in the region. (source)

Businesses operating within the European Union are now mandatory to comply with the directive specifying rules for securing customers’ personal data. It is now a legal obligation for companies to implement appropriate measures to safeguard this sensitive data, granting individuals more authority over their data.

While based in the United States, employers are not legally required to comply with GDPR measures. However, any company with intentions for global operations must be acquainted with the regulations.

Outlined below are some of the crucial aspects of GDPR:

  • Users should be provided with the choice to opt-in.
  • Customers hold the legal right to receive information from businesses.
  • At any point in time, individuals have the authority to request the removal of their information.

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2002 (CCPA)

The objective of GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is to protect consumers from cyber theft and other fraudulent activities by ensuring businesses’ accountability for the security of their customers’ personal information. (source)

The essential components of this law are as follows:

  • Being aware of the origin and intended recipients of one’s personal data.
  • Retaining the option to remove collected data, subject to certain exceptions.
  • Being provided with the option to prevent the sale of one’s personal data.
  • Feeling secure while exercising one’s CCPA rights without any fear of reprisal.

Due to California’s significant consumer and employment market, any business wanting to expand into the state must comply with the law. However, the law only extends protection to California residents.

To guarantee compliance, it is crucial for a company to integrate these rights into all of their data procedures. By adopting this approach, your company will meet California’s regulatory requirements and will be prepared to adapt to any similar laws enforced in other states.

Legislation to Decrease Cyber Attacks and Enhance Digital Data Protection (SHIELD)

The purpose of the SHIELD Act is to ensure the protection of New Yorkers’ personal data. As of March 2023, all businesses that fall under the law’s jurisdiction must comply with the new data protection regulations to safeguard the privacy of New York citizens.

Under the SHIELD Act, the following types of information are considered examples of personally identifiable information:

  • A combination of a unique identifier (such as an email address or username) and additional authentication information
  • Social Security Administration-issued identification number
  • Vehicle license plate number
  • Data related to a credit or debit card account
  • Physical characteristics that can be determined by a person’s biometric information

The SHIELD Act aims to establish a satisfactory level of protection for electronic information. To demonstrate compliance with the act, reasonable administrative, technical, and physical safeguards must be implemented to maintain the privacy of digital data.

By adhering to these regulations, your business can operate on the internet with security and can effectively hire remote personnel. Compliance with these laws will also ensure that your business is safeguarded should comparable legislation be introduced nationally.

Recommended Approaches for Safeguarding Personal Information

Your Remote Workers Should Also Be Well-Informed About Online Safety Precautions.

It is the employer’s responsibility to instruct their new recruits on the basics of cybersecurity. This includes:

  • To prevent potential phishing attacks and secure sensitive data, it is advisable that users refrain from clicking on links in emails or pop-up windows from unknown sources.
  • Prevent falling prey to cybercriminals by utilizing a reliable password manager to create complex and distinct passwords.
  • Adherence to company policies, such as the regular creation of data backups, is mandatory to protect against the possibility of virus infection or other harmful software.
  • Constantly updating the software development process is essential and so is verifying that all essential security patches have been implemented.
  • Firewalls are usually the first line of defence in cybersecurity. For additional security, particularly when operating remotely, it is recommended to have a firewall installed.

Make Use of Latest Technologies to Safeguard Sensitive Information

Businesses now have access to several resources that can assist them in safeguarding their employees’ personal data.

Organizations have several cybersecurity systems at their disposal, such as multi-factor authentication, firewalls, and Virtual Private Networks, to secure their external operations. In addition, password managers and cloud-based encryption services are also available, offering a risk-free means of safeguarding data.

Choose a Reliable Document-Sharing Service

For businesses that employ remote workers, the utilization of a file-sharing service is almost critical. Platforms such as:

  • Google Drive – a Cloud-Based File Storage and Syncing Service
  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • iCloud

Prior to selecting a single solution, conduct thorough research to identify the best team file-sharing platform for your company’s requirements.

Frequently Inspect Your System

Frequently inspecting your network for possible security breaches is critical. This approach can minimize the risk of attacks and minimize the damage in the event of an attack. Numerous network monitoring solutions are accessible to promptly identify any unusual activity.

Managing Data Privacy for Off-Site Recruiting

The frequency of cyber-attacks on businesses and their employees has increased dramatically.

Companies can protect their reputation and promote a culture of cybersecurity awareness by highlighting the significance of data protection to current and potential remote employees.

It is advisable to conduct due diligence while researching the relevant laws and regulations governing the marketplaces in which you intend to operate and recruit. For instance, if you operate within the European Union, ensure that you comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to avoid severe consequences.

To avoid the risk of inadequate protection of employee data, establish data privacy protocols before initiating any remote recruitment procedures. Including a data engineer with the appropriate expertise in the remote team can result in the best possible outcome.

If that is the case, Works can assist your business in identifying and recruiting highly skilled engineers and building a remote team that is proficient in data protection best practices. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to set up a quick chat to discuss your needs. You may contact us via chat or email.

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