Voluntary Benefits and Data Security

Glenn Petersen, President of Business Solutions, LegalShield, Independent Associate
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How HR and IT are joining forces to protect the identity and bottom-line of the company and their employees

Along with continuing to be the driving force of the enterprise meeting their goals, one of the Chief Information Officer’s main objectives is to ensure a comprehensive cybersecurity plan is in place. When building such a plan, a common misconception is that a CIO’s job is complete when the necessary precautions to secure the company’s data center are taken. Securing the company’s data, however, is only half the battle.

In today’s environment, a company’s risk for a security breach is higher than ever before. In just one year, from 2015 to 2016, data breaches increased by 40 percent. Employees may use the internet at work for personal matters or even worse use their company email and/or password to access their favorite sites, opening the door for hackers and putting the company even more at risk for a breach. Data breaches support the Dark Web, which is where 96 percent of all available information on the internet lives. Hackers use these black market web sites to sell passwords, Social Security numbers, and other personally identifiable information (PII) to criminals who use this information to steal identities. In the event of a data breach, not only is a company’s reputation affected but the data of the company, its customers, and their employees is compromised.

With data breaches on the rise, the protection of sensitive employee data needs to be a top consideration when building any cybersecurity plan. Companies need to take responsibility for the PII they store and take the proactive steps necessary to reduce the time and money needed to restore not only employees’ stolen identities but the company’s reputation if a data breach were to occur. Joining forces with internal leaders especially from human resources can help bridge this widening gap in cybersecurity plans.

  With data breaches on the rise, the protection of sensitive employee data needs to be a top consideration when building any cybersecurity plan  

Employee physical and financial wellness is a top priority for every HR leader and offering employees not only the best in benefits but also the right benefit options is a responsibility that companies do not take lightly. Companies strive to provide a comprehensive benefit package to recruit and retain top talent while also increasing overall company morale. Voluntary benefits are a complement to any benefit package and help fill the holes that many basic benefit packages leave behind. One of the fastest growing voluntary benefit options happens to be identity theft protection. With identity theft on the rise, it is not a surprise as to why a benefit focused on protecting employees from this crime, is not only needed, but increasingly requested by employees.

Identity theft benefits are a good way to lend peace of mind and protect both the bottom-line of employees and employers. They also reduce the time and money employees and the company would need to spend on reactive steps in the event of a data breach. Incorporating an identity theft benefit into a cybersecurity plan is a proactive step the company can take to ensure employee identities as well as the company’s data is protected. 

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