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My Data Protection Diary, 3rd September 2020

In the second instalment of my blog, I mentioned how the risks related to data protection increased during the lockdown and how our team provided solutions suited to different kinds of businesses.

Today we start the third page of my diary right where we left off... Happy to see you again!

Tackling all the risks for different business sectors in one go would be too much, so I decided to dedicate my third instalment to a sector that was particularly affected by the lockdown: Human Resources (HR). HR professionals are passionate about their work and focus on their people, which is in very comfortable alignment with the approach of Databasix. I started by asking Kellie several questions to find out more about the HR world in relation to data protection, in particular the risks during the pandemic and recruiting. So dear recruiters, I turn to you!

G.P.: During this period, many employees lost their jobs and have immediately started looking for a new role. Where companies are recruiting, their HR teams are often working remotely, given the arrangements defined by the situation, and interviews could only be conducted online. What were the biggest risks of web interviews, Kellie?

K.P.: I love that question. Smart working was a smart solution to keep businesses going, but for some industries, the risks of data breaches have increased. The recruiting sector is one of the sectors most at risk, do you know why? CVs contain a lot of personal data about the candidate, and additional details are often shared at the interview – for example, professional goals, experience or even sensitive data that may be necessary to share. To keep this set of data safe, recruiting professionals must use appropriate software and programs. A software program that allows us to organize a meeting or an interview in an easy, fast and free way is not always the right solution for your company, your employee or your customer data. Sometimes the convenience of such solutions makes us forget key aspects, such as security. It is also worth remembering risks that go may go unnoticed – those smart devices around the house (e.g. Alexa) must be turned off, as they could record your voice or the entire interview.

G.P.: Thanks Kellie. So, if it’s important to consider the safety of the program you use to conduct an interview, is the same true for the programs used to exchange information between colleagues?

K.P.: Of course, Giulia. The recruiting team must use secure operating systems and well-secured communications. Passwords need to be complex and changed frequently. And in case you want to introduce new software, as has happened for many companies during lockdown, make sure you know where your data is stored and who can access it.

G.P.: It is all clear now, but I still have a question for you, Kellie. Of course, in recent years, technology is fast replacing hard copy information, but surely someone will still print off CVs or have paper contracts. With people working at home and other members of their household being around, are there any additional risks there in relation to data protection?

K.P.: A really important point Giulia. Copies of CVs or employment contracts must be kept in a safe place where no family members, friends or people who visit your home cannot access them. If you have a locked draw or filing cabinet, that would definitely be the best place for them. Similarly, if you’ve had to work on a home computer, you should make sure that you use a separate user account which family members cannot access. Furthermore, these documents cannot be kept beyond the documented retention period and after this period they must be destroyed. There are secure ways to dispose of candidate’s or employee’s data, even when working from home – local secure shredding services or your own cross-cut shredder.

G.P.: Thanks Kellie for explaining to me how data protection risks grew during the pandemic. It’s clear you can’t forget about data protection, just because you’re working from home.

I hope this blog might be a source of information for all HR professionals involved in recruitment and who want to understand the risks related to processing of personal data during this process.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us… we are here to help you!
… are you curious to know what the next sector is going to be?
I can give you a clue… the sector is awfully close to my working passion.

See you soon at the next appointment!

Giulia

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