5 Steps for Recruiting Firms’ Data Security Best Practices

5 Questions for Staffing Agency Managers to Ask:YesNo
Are my employees clear about data security best practices and do they follow those guidelines?
Do my employees have strong passwords in place that include letters, numbers and symbols?
Is my data encrypted for another layer of security?
Is my agency data backed up regularly with an older version easily accessible in case of a damaging virus?
Do my employees know to never use insecure Wi-Fi?

Run through the questions above. Did you answer “no” to any of these questions? Your data security may be at risk. Companies of all sizes and configurations should carefully assess their security in light of Target’s data breach last December. The stolen information exposed data security vulnerabilities facing all companies, even those that are large and have various resources on their side. Hackers gained access to 40 million customer accounts, including PIN numbers and security codes embedded on the backs of cards. Another 70 million people had personal information stolen. Ultimately the breach cost the company at least $17 million, tarnished its reputation and cost both the CIO and CEO their jobs.

Staffing companies may not have millions of accounts, but you may have tens of thousands of records, including tax documentation and bank account information, along with a valuable reputation to protect. In fact, employee error at one Texas staffing agency led to 10,000 records being exposed, which included private data such as social security numbers, medical information, drug testing results and more. Managers should be prepared to implement data security best practices at your staffing firm, from utilizing recruitment software to adding data encryption. Here are 5 steps recruiting companies should take to protect your valuable data.

  1. Data Security Best Practices for Your Recruiting Firm are Outlined in 5 Steps from the Bond Blog.Educate and Empower Your Recruiting Firm Staff. Encourage your employees to be vigilant when it comes to data security. Educate them about ways they can help ensure that human error, a common and entirely preventable cause of security breaches, is minimized. Make sure that you have clear security policies regarding data security best practices in place, including requirements that:
    • Any computers connected to the network have up-to-date security software
    • No security information may be given over the phone, and that
    • All printed documents containing personal information or proprietary data should be shredded.
  1. Require That Your Recruiting Team Uses Strong Passwords. Hackers are skilled at guessing simple passwords, especially when they are able to use automated tools designed to crack them. Stipulate that your staffing professionals incorporate letters, symbols and numbers and never write passwords down. Cybersecurity pundit Tom Hulsey writes on his blog about the increasing problem of hackers from China targeting U.S. businesses of all sizes in order to gain access to larger companies. Your firm needs to have reliable data security best practices to prevent acting as a doorway between persistent hackers and your valuable clients’ data and information.
  1. Make Sure Your Recruiting Firm’s Data Is Encrypted. Encryption is another layer of protection for a situation where, despite your best data security practices, your data is stolen. Ramon Ray, a businesses and technology expert, writes about encryption in 8 Tips to Protect Your Business and Secure Its Data, “[I]f your hard disk is stolen or you lose your USB thumb drive, whoever accesses the data won’t be able to read it if it’s encrypted.” Encryption takes information from a readable form and scrambles the text so that it can’t be understood by someone who steals it or otherwise accesses it. When the encrypted text reaches your recruiting staff member who has the right formula, the scrambled information is reverted back to readable text.
  1. Data Security Best Practices for Your Recruiting Firm are Outlined in 5 Steps from the Bond Blog.Back Up and Test Your Agency’s Recruiting Data. Properly back up data so that if your recruiting firm’s system crashes or is infected with malware, you won’t lose valuable work and information. Employment agency software that is hosted on the cloud can give you peace of mind, knowing that your agency’s data is secure — cloud backup solutions are usually safe from computer viruses. You may opt to set a planned schedule for backing up your data, or choose to work with a software company that performs nightly backups for you as part of your data security best practices plan.
  1. Protect Remote Recruiters. With your company’s recruiters and sales staff on the go, you need to protect their work and prevent hackers from accessing company information when team members connect to your system. Of particular concern is when staff use public networks, since they are not secure. Experts say that someone on the same Wi-Fi as your employee could see their passwords, documents and email messages — all of their business information. Recruiting software can give your staff the flexibility they need, allowing them to access the information they need from anywhere at any time. It also supports your data security via configurable document categories, each with its own security settings. For example, candidate resumes and notes your recruiters take could have a low security setting, while social security numbers, tax information and bank account numbers would have high settings for extra data security.

When even well-respected companies suffer negative fallout after security breaches, it’s an important  reminder to analyze what action you’re taking at your recruiting firms. Managers need to work to protect your recruiting company’s documents, clients’ data and candidates’ personal information. There are many steps you can take and recruiting software you can utilize to improve your data security best practices, while simultaneously protecting your clients’ data, candidates’ information and company’s reputation.

Learn more about the benefits of using the cloud for both data security best practices and to facilitate your team’s workflow by downloading our whitepaper, Five Reasons Why Staffing Firms are Rising Into the Cloud.

Cloud-Based Recruiting Software Reduces IT Costs And Headaches For Staffing And Recruiting Industry Agencies

As staffing and recruiting companies, like many other organizations, look to cost saving measures, the importance of cloud-based staffing software and recruiting software cannot be undervalued. The impact of the Great Recession may be slowly receding and hiring is picking up, but with companies taking into account the need for staffing flexibility, they are looking for recruiters to offer direct services with greater benefits at decreased costs.

Cloud-based staffing and recruiting software is a cost-effective solution for many reasons. Not only does cloud-based staffing and recruiting software drastically improve the efficiency of recruiting professionals because they are able to access all information with any network-connected device, it also eliminates or greatly reduces the need to purchase applications, software, additional servers or employ in-house IT tech staff. This sizable chunk of operational budget funds – a significant non-revenue producing operational expense – is now available to be reinvested in the business or as pure bottom-line profits.

In North America, the adoption rate for cloud services is changing the face of business computing. More than 62 percent of all business have integrated some form of cloud computing system in place, according to a paper from Microsoft. This is because it is recognized that cloud computing solutions offer a wide range of positive features to businesses of all sizes.

If saving money were not enough of a push to switch to cloud-based staffing and recruiting software, then the added security of these measures might be. Staffing Industry Analysts reported that cloud-based staffing and recruiting software provides stability in a way that private programs cannot. Cloud vendors know data security and up-time reliability is critical to the ongoing success and efficiency of their customers and so put tremendous resources into their IT infrastructure and staffing to assure their customers of dedicated levels of performance. Only the largest corporate enterprise computing environments can match the physical security of cloud-based staffing and recruiting software. Additionally, they feature redundant back-up systems to assure 99.9+ percent uptime availability of the staffing and recruiting software.

Even with all of the security measures put in place to protect data, there is mobility to cloud-based recruiting software that is not possible with other options. A recruiter can easily use his or her mobile device, or any of the multiple mobile devices he or she probably owns, to access information about a client or potential candidate for a job. This ability to access information readily and quickly is another benefit for a staffing and recruiting professional. Employees are able to better prepare or source for potential candidates on a whim or access information instantaneously to answer a question immediately.

Finally, cloud-based staffing and recruiting software offers management an easy means to keep their staffing and recruiting software up-to-date while managing their costs. Software updates are made by the vendor so that business operations are not typically impacted.

Protect your data when researching candidates

Data Privacy Day, held every January 28, brings attention to keeping your information safe online. The digital world is constantly changing, which means a staffing or recruiting company, which contains the personal information of thousands of people, needs to stay current with appropriate safeguards to protect them – and you.

In the online world, data is constantly free flowing. Personal and private data is shared between points around the world constantly, but it’s important to strive for a strong wall of privacy in the staffing industry. Think of yourself and your company as a steward of data. According to Stay Safe Online, learning how to protect yourself as a private citizen and your candidates as a professional is crucial.

Here are three quick tips for keeping your candidate data safe:

1) Use a secure server. Your data is only as safe as the server that you are using. All too often, staffing and recruiting companies that self-host their servers fail this basic rule – keep your server(s) in a physically secure and safe environment. As a staffing and recruiting professional, it’s important to make a note of how your organization deals with data security. If you think some practices are lacking or have a concern don’t feel afraid to voice your questions or opinions to the right people. Your input could help make your organization and the information it keeps on both clients and potential job candidates secure. The easiest way to ensure the physical security of your servers is to have your staffing and recruiting software provider host it for you. They have access to and employ security systems equal to the task that are typically far beyond the reach of most small businesses. For example, Bond’s secure servers host many customers and carry ISO 27001 certification for data security.

2) Automate security upgrades. Have each computer and mobile device that is hooked up to the company server set to upgrade automatically. With the increase in the number of mobile devices being connected to the agency’s server, it’s important to make sure that software programs are updated regularly. Often employees will feel inconvenienced by software updates, but it is an important step for data security. As a staffing professional using recruiting software, various mobile devices and different programs, it’s important to make sure the devices you use are updated. Just think, if you use your smartphone for both personal and professional business, you could open yourself up to a security breach if you don’t allow the system to update.

3) Opt out of third-party tracking cookies. Congress is still in the middle of discussing whether companies can sell the rights to cookies you create when you traverse the internet. However, you don’t have to wait for them to make a decision to increase your security and reduce cookies. Set your browser to reject all third-party cookies so that only websites that you visit will be able to collect data on you, according to Reputation News.

In the internet world, staffing professionals have to be aware of where and how they are being tracked by “digital eyes.” An accidental security breach can have significant repercussions for a company and an individual. Imagine for a moment if your systems candidate and employee data was stolen – what would it cost you and your business? Use your best judgment when researching potential candidates or clients and looking around the internet platform. As a staffing professional, you know when something doesn’t look right. After all, you’re trained to identify if something is fishy with a candidate! What do you do to help keep your data safe and secure?