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We all know how every industry has moved online in the last decade and let it be a complex HR management cell or a mediocre grocery store, there is an inevitable need to integrate it with the internet. It is worth noticing that the term ‘internet’ is not restricted to a portfolio website only. In fact, it happens to be a very broad terminology that facilitates inter-device communication between multiple people and organizations.
So it is quite understandable that if any system moves online and caters to the requirements of such a huge segment, then it is also prone to cyber attacks. That is exactly where cybersecurity comes into play in order to thwart any such incident.
How (and why) is HR threatened by cybersecurity?
In short, everything that is kept online or any computer system that is connected to the internet suffers from the possibility of facing a cybersecurity event. Talking specifically about the HR industry, we’ll start by exploring how could it affect the references, which happen to be one of the core measures of gauging the credibility of an applicant.
Suppose that you own HR firm that collects an array of CVs on daily basis in a digital form that receives inputs from applicants. Now your online system is responsible for making this pool of applicants available to the clients. In case, if any hacker gets into the database and tweaks a couple of references just to make his resume sound better, then it could wreck the transparency and its importance is quite well elaborated in a blog post which demands that the references must be factual and honest as demanded by the law.
This is just one of the examples where cybersecurity proves its immense value. Apart from that, you could consider another scenario as well.
As we know that the data of potential applicants is stored online, there must be robust measures to ensure that the system has a sheer ability to recover from any malfunction and the firewalls are strongly configured to mitigate any attack. Because if any element gets into the database of applicants or even current employees who got any job through your service, their sensitive details such as email and postal address could be extracted illegally to start remote bullying.
It happens to be one of the core concerns for employees working in (pretty much) any environment. As explained in this blog post, cyberbullying is mainly divided into following categories:
- Email threats
- Gossiping via company’s chat forum
- Offensive emails
- Commenting on social media networks
Now the last one here seems quite normal and is not a difficult thing to do. I mean it is not even required that the hacker extract information from a database. If someone is able to perform a deep search on any social networking site, he could find an employee there. But the main deadlock appears when a database is breached and sensitive information is exploited, as explained in the above section.
Here are a couple of ways that the HR management team could go about in order to address cyberbullying and ensure that a safe environment is offered to every employee, whatsoever:
- Be proactive: Since we are exploring this area in terms of cybersecurity, the IT infrastructure of your organization must support the anti-bullying policy decorated by the management. In case a breach is detected that could potentially harm the employees, the HR management cell must report that to the IT department on an immediate basis, regardless of any constraints
- Implement a policy: While the employees must be provided a with a firm guideline to use social media while in the office, a precautionary email (with an update to the pre-existing policy after an attack) must be forwarded to all employees
- Unanimity: The HR is often habitual of maintaining its dignity by imposing restrictions on the way different departments communicate with each other. However, in order to keep a digitally secure environment where information and warnings could be shared between people, the cybersecurity wing of IT department should be allowed to openly communicate with all departments within an organization
Making your system secure
Well, as a sound professional, you must know that none of the systems in the World is 100 percent secure. Anything that goes online is likely to be hacked. In fact, it is measured in the amount of time and resources required to hack a system, given its robustness and impugnable infrastructure.
Perform penetration tests
As the name suggests, it refers to a series of tests performed by ‘ethical hackers’ who evaluate the security of your system while trying to get into it. The techniques they use are most often preferred by hackers around the Globe.
While you must have a penetration test when you build the system, it is also advised that you hire a certified team periodically in order to keep your system updated. Any detected flaw must be countered by cybersecurity experts.
The use of honeypots is quite essential when it comes to ‘determining your real threat’. Basically, it attracts hackers by offering a system that contains information of their interest. Now even though a honeypot does not appear to be deployed as a countermeasure, it is penetrable by hackers. As soon as the hacker gets into the stream, he is either tagged and located in order to take further action, or his actions are closely monitored by SOC analysts for evaluating the responsiveness of their system. Therefore, after mitigating an attack, they are able to take necessary measure for preventing any such incident in the future.
So, the use of honeypot is crucial when it comes to HR management because the agency will be able to know which hacker or what type of mechanism is being used to undermine its operations.
Moreover, the managers of HR division should define clear policies and framework that must be followed during and after the attack has occurred. The coordination of teams is very important in this regard while ensuring that the data is not lost and the extent of damage is also recorded.