HR Security Risk Prevention…

HR Security Risk Prevention…

With the rapid adoption of the Cloud by SMEs as well as large enterprises, it has become vital to review and update HR policies to mitigate information security threats that come with this paradigm shift. Cloud systems differ from traditional, in-house IT infrastructure in a way that businesses now have less control over their software while handing over most of the control to third party Cloud service providers. For example, it is hard to keep track of your employee’s browser history if he or she is connected to a virtualized environment inside the Cloud. Your business data is more vulnerable in the hands of an employee using Cloud since the chances of involuntary information spill are greater in Cloud environments.

For companies moving to the Cloud or those who have already made the transition, it is important that not only their CIOs sit sit down and review the IT staff policies to adequately cover the company against any risks of employee using company information for illegitimate purposes. CIOs may make the policies but when it comes to enforcing anything on employees, HR has to be involved so it’s better to involve them early on instead of handing them down a plethora of information security policy for theCloud.

To start with, companies should enforce technology based restriction on Cloud on what an employee can and cannot do vis-à-vis Cloud apps. Of course, you have to make sure that the Cloud solution provider conforms to your information security requirements on Cloud apps. For example, employees should not be allowed to send emails to their private accounts using Cloud without prior permission. HR staff also needs to include the Cloud related policy decisions in employee’s handbook.

For example:

  • Whether an employee can use public Cloud storage solutions like DropBox at work and more importantly, does the company allow information to be put into public Cloud storage services?
  • Can an employee use personal handheld devices like smartphone/tablet at/for work?
  • Can an employee be allowed to send emails to private accounts to facilitate his/her work outside the office environment? If so, should that email be CC’ed to some else as well?
  • Does the policy handbook covers in detail the use of internet, email and other IT transactions from work and can they be monitored?

HR policy should clearly mention what comes under the definition of ‘company information’ and ‘company property’. IT policy also needs to be updated periodically because with the plethora of new possibilities which the Cloud brings for businesses, it also leaves loopholes in company’s information security policy.

By Salam UI Haq

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