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How Secure is your Payroll in the current Cybersecurity Landscape?

Dan May, Commercial Director at ramsac, discusses the importance of Cybersecurity for the essential payroll function

Payroll data protection is vital, and it is something we take very seriously at ramsac – with good reason.

If confidential information such as bank account details, home addresses, and National Insurance numbers gets leaked, the results could be hugely damaging. Avoiding security breaches is vital, and in today’s world, this means your payroll needs to be protected by robust cybersecurity systems and procedures.

If your company is subjected to hackers or a data leak, especially one relating to payroll, the effects can be devastating not only to your employees but to your business as a whole. The integrity of your company will undoubtedly be questioned, which could have a negative impact on future business.

There are ways to make sure your payroll information is cyber-secure, starting with putting the necessary security software and hardware in place. Beyond this, though, there are other considerations you can make to enhance your payroll security.  Here are 5 key recommendations we have for business leaders:

Talk to specialists to get advice on just what kind of data protection you need. From deciding on the type of security software to receiving training on GDPR best practice, there are specialists who will make sure you’re properly protected.

  • Carry out software updates as soon as possible

When you see a pop-up appear on screen requesting you to approve an update, this has happened for a reason – so don’t ignore it. Software updates occur when there are new features available, but also sometimes to repair vulnerable areas or problems with security. By ignoring these updates you could actually worsen your security, putting payroll information in jeopardy.  If a third party handles your payroll, they will usually keep systems up to date so you don’t need to worry.

  • Get to know your payroll partner

If you do outsource your payroll, you can usually be confident that they are using the latest software which is fully cyber-secure. Having said this, before you are committed to a contract with a third party like this, you should do your homework. Avoid disreputable suppliers by reading reviews and even getting recommendations from contacts in the business world.

  • Ensure passwords are used effectively

All payroll information should be password-protected in some way, and inaccessible to those who do not have the relevant authority. In addition to putting a password system in place, you should stipulate that passwords must be changed regularly, and meet a ‘strong password’ threshold. An astonishing number of people use weak passwords across multiple accounts, meaning if one account is accessed wrongfully, many could be. The National Cyber Security Centre offers password guidance for system owners.

  • Create a human firewall by training your staff

A significant number of cybersecurity breaches actually occur because of the users themselves. These are usually inadvertent, and happen as a result of inadequate training. Avoid problems with payroll data protection by making sure that any employees dealing with payroll are fully aware of the necessary security processes. Training should cover aspects such as;

  • Always locking your computer when unattended
  • Shredding hard copies of sensitive information
  • Use of ‘strong’ passwords
  • Attentiveness in public spaces on personal devices
  • Exhibiting caution with unusual emails/phone calls

It’s never been more important to properly protect personal data, and as any employee would agree, payroll information is some of the most sensitive. By taking these steps towards more rigorous cybersecurity, you are more likely to be compliant when it comes to payroll and GDPR. If you have any specific concerns or queries that we have not addressed, get in touch today to speak to our expert team.

The article was written by Dan May, commercial Director at ramsac, providing proactive, secure, reliable IT solutions and support for charities and other growing organisations.