Proper payroll is a vital task for companies of all sizes and industries. The practice requires a great deal of information from employees, much of it highly sensitive. If these materials fall into the wrong hands – through internal or external data breaches – employers and their workers could face serious consequences. It’s important for those business leaders handling payroll to ensure their process is secure for the safety of their hard-working employees. PTM has a closer look at how organizations can keep their payroll procedure as protected as possible:
Manage physical documentation
Although the majority of payroll practices can now be handled via electronic tools, sometimes companies still encounter paper forms containing worker data, including addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers and more. While payroll leaders should add this information to their online portal – which has the necessary firewalls and other security measures – many executives also decide to store the physical documentation on their organization’s premises.
This is not a bad practice, if it’s completed correctly. The Houston Chronicle suggested keeping forms containing personal information in filing cabinets with locks. In addition, the room that holds the documents should also be secured, and only authorized personnel should have access to the storage area.
“Unless the information is needed for an audit, companies should destroy employee data.”
Destroy unused information
Organizations never know when they may need to use certain information in the future. As a result, payroll teams may hold onto employee records containing important data for longer than necessary. Continuing to store documents and materials that are no longer relevant – both in physical copy and via electronic tools – is a dangerous practice.
Unless it’s needed as part of an audit, businesses should properly destroy any data that is no longer necessary to the enterprise, according to Business 2 Community. Payroll teams should be trained on secure ways to get rid of this data, including shredding of paper forms.
Monitor external requests
Managing internal access to payroll information may seem like a no-brainer for businesses, but what about those requests stemming from outside resources? Those inquiries may be more difficult to sift through and verify in an efficient manner. To better manage these appeals, companies should create a procedure for handling external requests. A common method is to ask outside parties to send their inquiries in writing – as these documents are easier to verify.
In addition, company leaders should ensure all employees with a hand in payroll are trained on the actions necessary to safely release sensitive information.
A third-party service provider can help companies better manage their payroll process in a safe and secure manner. PTM offers an educated team of professionals trained to maintain tax compliance, processing of important forms, quarter- and year-end checklists and much more.
The upcoming National Association of Professional Employer Organizations Conference – held Sept. 7-9 in Austin, Texas – will feature a helpful session regarding data security as it pertains to protecting PEOs. PTM will be in attendance at the two-day event to provide additional insight and instruction as to how businesses can truly safeguard themselves from data emergencies.