The spate of serious cyber security breaches should be a wake-up call to HR professionals, according to a recent article published by the Society for Human Resource Management. This follows the Sony Pictures Entertainment breach, in which hackers released thousands of emails, executives’ salary information and about 47,000 current and former employees’ Social Security numbers.
The disclosure of personal information about employees and their families, reportedly including medical records, is a concern that should be at the top of all HR executives’ minds. In the Sony case, some workers received threatening emails, and has had a devastating impact on its employees.
Although staff were offered identity theft protection services, experts say that Sony could have done more to protect its employees, citing previous hacking incidents that should have been sufficient early warning signs.
Now current and former employees have taken to the courts, filing a class-action lawsuit against the studio.
Despite a steady increase in severe data breaches, most HR professionals in the US are in the dark about data security and the basic requirements for effective cyber hygiene, with experts saying that it is more of a cultural problem rather than a technical one.
As cyber crime grows into a highly lucrative industry, ultra-sophisticated crime networks are latching onto the game, so no organization is safe from becoming a target.
“There is no guarantee that an organization will not be breached, even if they do everything right,” says Diana L. Burley, a security expert and professor in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University. Burley notes that the best chance is through “continuing education of employees about proper protocols and ensuring that the procedures are followed.”
The international information security standard, ISO 27001, provides a holistic solution to improving an organization’s resilience to cyber attacks.
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