The Crucial Role of Cybersecurity for HR Professionals

November 30, 2023 by Adnan

62% of executives agree that the most significant threat to their business’s cybersecurity comes not from hackers but from employees’ failure to follow the data security rules. That’s why it is crucial for HR professionals to be involved in educating employees about workplace cybersecurity threats and explaining how damaging can a security breach be incredibly damaging to the company.

HR departments are dealing with sensitive data like social security numbers, dates of birth, banking information, addresses, etc., stored in the company’s payroll system, can be very valuable to cybercriminals, making it a prime target.

So, if you’re an HR professional, you ought to  stay alert and be ready to take a proactive approach against potential security threats. From this article, you’ll learn the cybersecurity best practices to follow in your day-to-day operations to avoid data breaches that can negatively affect your company.

Why HR needs to play its role in preventing cyber attacks

Work alongside your organization’s IT and security teammates to ensure that valuable employee data is not compromised.

Employee data can be vulnerable to all sorts of attacks. There’s social engineering, also known as phishing or smishing, where sneaky hackers try to trick you into revealing sensitive information. Then there’s malware and missing software updates that can give hackers remote access to systems.

Also, watch out for web vulnerabilities, especially in Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Hackers can try to crack passwords or inject dodgy code through SQL.


Here are a few top reasons why as an HR professional, you can play a crucial role in stopping cyber attacks:

HR Looks After Sensitive Information

While IT and security focus on customer data and intellectual property, HR records often get overlooked. But employee records, salary details, and internal corporate procedures are extremely valuable to hackers, as exploiting this information can reap financial rewards.

HR professionals could easily forget they’ve got sensitive records on their personal devices or don’t follow the best procedures for keeping that data safe, as they’re not trained in cybersecurity.

That’s why you need to team up with the IT and security crew to ensure HR staff adequately protects all that sensitive company information.

HR Communicates Company Policies

HR professionals often work closely with legal experts to sort out security policies, like creating these documents, keeping them up-to-date, and ensuring everyone follows them.

Since you are constantly in contact with employees, you are in the perfect spot to share information about security and privacy expectations.

You are already on the ball when it comes to keeping security in employees’ minds.

HR Helps With Following The Rules

The HR team is a valuable contributor to compliance-related initiatives when the department is aligned with state, federal, and international privacy and security compliance regulations.

This is particularly crucial for larger organizations with offices and employees spread across different countries.

HR gets involved in creating processes for onboarding and offboarding users, securing the workplace and making sure everyone’s aware of security practices and knowing what to do when a crisis hits.

HR Brings Fresh Ideas To The Table

Some HR professionals even sit on the IT and security governance committee. HR should help spread the word about security and lend a hand with policy when needed.

The HR crew on these committees isn’t afraid to bring new ideas to the table. Their perspective helps IT and security professionals make the business strong and resilient while minimizing risks.

Cybersecurity Tips For HR Professionals

47% of all US companies face cyberattacks in some shape or form, losing $18,000 on average.

As an HR professional, you must ensure your organization avoids such losses, especially if they can be avoided by following simple rules. 

Here are some guidelines every HR professional must follow:

Identify Your Organization’s Risk Exposure

The first thing to do to prevent potential cybersecurity threats is to recognize them. And HR plays a crucial role in this by regularly conducting risk assessments for the organization. These assessments help figure out the level of risk exposure the organization faces.

Identify risky employee behaviors that might lead to data breaches or other threats. For example, find out if there’s an unsecured workstation or if employees are misplacing their ID cards. 

These might seem like simple slip-ups, but they can give cybercriminals access to sensitive information or the organization’s network.

These assessments also help organizations tailor their employee training. You see, providing the right training is tough if you don’t know what threats you’re vulnerable to. So, knowing the risks through these assessments is essential for designing practical training modules.

Employee Data Controls & Access

A solid data management strategy needs access controls to ensure only the right people can access the data on the organization’s network.

The HR department plays a vital role in setting up and implementing access controls. Define what data an employee needs access to before they come on board. When it’s time for them to move on, ensure their access to that data is cut off.

Now, there are some handy digital solutions, like IP rotating residential proxies, that can help with this. Use these proxies to block access from ex-employees once their contracts are up. It’s a great way to prevent any insider attacks from former employees who might still have access to the company’s networks.

Tech solutions have become a real game-changer in every business. And proxies are one of those handy tech tools that help businesses tackle cyber threats head-on. They make securing sensitive data super easy and increase the odds of a successful security strategy for any business.

Educate Employees On Cybersecurity

For info security to work like a charm, you’ve got to keep the team on their toes with continuous training. That way, we ensure everyone sees cybersecurity as a standard operating procedure (SOP) and sticks to it.

An example of such an SOP would be always using a VPN whenever accessing the company’s servers through public WiFi (It encrypts the data transmission, making it difficult for anyone to pry on it).

The HR department plays a massive role in this regard. When crafting a cybersecurity training procedure, remember the following:

  • Weave security training right into the new-hire orientations. 
  • Highlight the main cybersecurity trends and the threats the firm is up against; show the team how their actions can stop them in their tracks.
  • Every training session should emphasize that a firm’s cybersecurity is a joint effort. When we get everyone on board, rolling out policies and building a great security culture is not difficult.


Promote A Cybersecurity Culture

Embracing proactive security culture within a company is a collective effort. As the initial and final touchpoint for every employee, the HR team plays a pivotal role in shaping and nurturing this culture.

Convey to employees the significance of cybersecurity for the organization and define their responsibilities in safeguarding the company’s network from the get-go. Instill a sense of ownership to minimize negligence.

New hires should be introduced to the cybersecurity culture right from their first interaction with HR. Fresh recruits might be more susceptible to potential risks, and instilling a security mindset early on can considerably impact their daily actions.

Maintaining a robust cybersecurity culture is an ongoing effort that should be adopted across the entire organization, starting from the top management and extending to all employees.

HR and other departments must collaborate via secure internal communication to ensure that every new employee comprehends and aligns with this culture seamlessly.

Wrapping Up

HR is a valuable partner in cyber risk assessment and incident response planning. The people operations software holds lots of detailed employment records, and that’s what those cybercriminals are after.

Keeping these assets protected is essential for the entire organization’s cybersecurity.

When forming the cyber risk assessment and business continuity planning committees, have senior leadership from various disciplines and departments involved. This way, you can make sure everything keeps running smoothly even after a cyber incident.

HR brings a great perspective from both the operational and individual employee angles, and that’s just awesome.

Unify employee, partner, and vendor training all in one place. Automate onboarding, knowledge sharing, and skill assessment. Invest in your people for a forward-thinking organization with endless possibilities. 

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