Edward Snowden’s Impact on HR and Data Secrurity

I’m here at SXSW sitting in the session “A Virtual Conversation With Edward Snowden” and I can’t help wondering what type of data security issues relate to Human Resources. You’ve heard of the Bring Your Own Device policies that have been implemented to protect internal data and company managers demanding workers give them their social media passwords, but how has Edward Snowden really impacted the Human Resources industry?

Edwards speaks on the importance of big data privacy and the entire concept that “Big Brother” is always watching you.  However data in the workplace has become a growing concern and protecting it has become something that your local Human Resources department takes seriously. They might not built the infrustrature behind protecting everything, but they are usually responsible for helping draft and create policies that impact the workplace. If you’re new to HR or your company hasn’t set any type of polices in place here are some general tips on protecting data in the workplace:

How-to Protect Your Data, Brand, and Company

Have Clear Workplace Policies

When working with data policies it’s important to be extremely clear on the dos and don’ts. For the majority of industries these are standard across the various industries like financial, technology, and general business concepts. For employees it’s important that they understand what they can do and what they can’t do. Whether it be talking to a friend about a client or sharing senstitive information about something “cool” happening at their company.

Don’t Be a Robotic, Super Secret, Super-Causious Company

We understand that protecting data is extremely important, but don’t harm your workplace culture in the process. Protect your data, but don’t be robotic about it. People like to feel trusted with information and apart of the “team” and not wondering what’s happening behind the secret veil. Balance your company culture with sharing information and making your employeesfeel like they’re important.

Be Firm on Consequences

You hear everyday that the punishment must fit the crime. In this case leaking senstitive could put your company at risk of major lawsuits not to mention the implications a leak would have on your brand identity. Once the consquences have been set don’t waiver on them for anyone. Making examples out of data leaks is important to prevent it from happening down the line.

Although I’m not a fan of Edward Snowden and his intentions, misguided as they were, were pure, I think there are ways to enhance data security in the workplace without being overly robotic. Create policies, establish the consequences, and don’t keep everything a secret to your employees. When employees are let in on company secrets regularly it’ll make them feel like sharing random pieces of information isn’t as important because they feel more important and apart of the team. Transparency in the workplace will destroy the overall feelings for employees to leak important data.

Posted in

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


Pin It on Pinterest