Cyber-security tips to help your employees keep payroll data safe

An image of a man holding a cellphone with a lock icon above it. Data Protection Post

A security breach puts a company’s reputation at risk and can have costly consequences. The 2017 Trustwave Global Security Report states that cyber-criminals often identify ‘soft-targets’, such as commonly used software platforms with known vulnerabilities, when planning their attacks. Corporate and internal networks are the most at risk, and suffer 43% and 31% of attacks respectively.

The widespread increase in cyber-security protection measures by companies is making it harder for cyber-criminals to ‘break-in’. However, many employees accidentally leave the back-door open for the criminals to walk in. Often security breaches are a result of insecure remote-access software, unprepared employees and weak internal policies such as poor password security.

Information is power. And not just any information but specifically personal data. Phishing and social engineering are becoming increasingly popular cyber-crime tactics. By gaining access to personal information, cyber-criminals can trick individuals, and manipulate their way through security systems. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical that you and your employees protect your company’s payroll data at all times, with these cyber-security tips.

Don’t be deceived

It wasn’t too long ago when a well-forged signature could access a bank vault. As security measures have improved, criminals have had to think smarter. Now they go after vulnerable personal information like banking details. With this data at hand, a cyber-criminal can easily pretend to be someone from the payroll department, target unsuspecting employees and trick them into opening a link that gets the hacker into the company’s server.

Cyber-criminals are smart; their emails are professional and even company branded, and their telephone conversations can be completely believable. The deception is achieved by inspiring false trust: the employee in question has no reason to be suspicious when ‘a colleague’ is contacting them with personal information. To keep your payroll data safe, your employees need to be alert and yes, suspicious. Training is a critical element in the fight against cyber-crime.

Forewarned is forearmed

Your employees are your company’s greatest strength – and weakness. It’s very easy to miss signs and threats if you don’t know what to look out for. Hacking methods like social engineering for example, target employee ignorance and gullibility, so regular training is necessary to help staff identify weird emails or requests. It doesn’t matter if you’re an intern or a CEO, every employee needs to understand the importance of keeping the company network safe – and how to do it.

Weak passwords are another major problem. Employees typically choose something simple to remember – we have a lot of passwords these days! Unfortunately, cyber-criminals know this and with the help of dictionary attack, they can crack a code in five seconds. Passwords need to be tough, yet memorable. Cyber-security training can help employees create complex, uncrackable codes. Of course, regular password changes are necessary, and if a user can’t get it right after five login attempts, then they need to be locked out.

Cyber-security best practice also includes investing in good payroll technology. Outsourcing your payroll can in fact, protect you and employees against cyber-attacks. However, make sure you choose a service provider with the relevant security measures in place. PaySpace has invested in its security intelligence and has an ISO 27001 certification in Information Security Management.

Your payroll data is valuable currency, and cyber-criminals are becoming bolder and smarter to get their hands on it. The impact of a security breach is huge: it compromises a company’s reputation and could result in severe legal consequences. Don’t leave your back-door open, train your employees and invest in the best technology to keep your payroll data safe and secure at all times.

For more cyber-security tips, contact PaySpace and find out how our technology can help secure your payroll data.

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