Data breaches and lack of privacy are some of the most pressing issues in today’s data-driven world. Every day, we hear about hackers stealing personal information, identity theft, ransomware attacks, and other cyber threats that put our data at risk.
As a recruiter, you deal with sensitive candidate data on a regular basis, such as resumes, contact details, references, background checks, and assessments. How do you ensure that you protect your candidates’ data from unauthorized access, misuse, or loss? In celebration of World Computer Security Day, let’s take a look at how you, as a recruiter, can build a stronger wall to keep your data more secure.
The Data Collection Process
As a recruiter, you collect candidate data from various sources, such as job boards, social media, referrals, career fairs, and your own website. You store this data in your database, which may be hosted on your own servers or on a cloud service provider. You process this data to screen candidates, schedule interviews, conduct assessments, and make hiring decisions. You also share this data with your clients, hiring managers, and other stakeholders involved in the recruitment process.
While collecting and processing candidate data is essential for your business, it also exposes you to various data security challenges. For instance, you may face the following scenarios:
- You receive a resume from a candidate via email, but you forget to delete it after uploading it to your database. The email account gets hacked, and the hacker accesses the resume and other confidential information.
- You use a cloud service provider to host your database, but you don’t have a clear contract that specifies the data security responsibilities and liabilities of both parties. The cloud service provider suffers a data breach, and your data is compromised.
- You send a candidate’s data to a client via an unencrypted email attachment. The email is intercepted by a malicious third party, who uses the data for identity theft or fraud.
- You use a weak password to access your database, or you share your password with someone else. A hacker guesses or steals your password, and gains access to your database.
How to Keep Candidate Data Secure
Data security is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process that requires constant vigilance and improvement. Here are some best practices to keep your candidate data secure:
1. Use encryption
Encryption is the process of transforming data into an unreadable format, so that only authorized parties can access it with a decryption key. It can protect your data both at rest (when stored in your database or device) and in transit (when transferred over the internet or other networks.) It is a good start to use encryption to protect your data from unauthorized access, modification, or deletion. You can use encryption tools such as SSL/TLS certificates, VPNs, or encryption software to encrypt your data.
2. Use strong authentication
Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user who wants to access your data. It is a good idea to use strong authentication methods, such as passwords, biometrics, or multi-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to your data. It’s also important to change your passwords regularly, and never share them with anyone. You can use password managers, such as LastPass or Dashlane, to generate and store strong passwords for your accounts.
3. Use access control
Access control is the process of granting or denying access to your data based on the user’s role, responsibility, or need. You should use access control to limit who can access, view, edit, or delete your data. You should also monitor and audit the access activities of your users, and revoke access when necessary. You can control the data access via permissions, roles, or groups.
4. Use backup and recovery
Backup and recovery are the processes of creating and restoring copies of your data in case of data loss or corruption. It is a good practice to use backup and recovery to ensure that you can recover your data in the event of a cyberattack, human error, or natural disaster. Test your backups regularly, and store them in a secure location, preferably off-site or on the cloud. You can backup and restore your data with tools like external hard drives, cloud storage, or backup software.
5. Use compliance
Compliance is the process of adhering to the data security laws and regulations that apply to your industry and location. It’s essential to use compliance to ensure that you respect the privacy and rights of your candidates, clients, and other parties, and avoid legal penalties or reputational damage. You should update your data security policies and procedures according to the changing regulatory landscape. Make sure to follow regulations like GDPR, CCPA, or SOC 2, to comply with the data security standards and requirements.
Ensure Data Security with ATS
One of the most efficient ways to implement these best practices is to use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that can help you manage your candidate data securely and compliantly. Manatal is an ATS that offers a comprehensive and user-friendly solution for your recruitment needs. It is also SOC 2 Type II certified, which means that the software follows the highest standards of data security and privacy, based on the five trust service principles of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Manatal also provides you with the following data security features and benefits:
- Encryption: Manatal encrypts your data both at rest and in transit, using SSL/TLS certificates, and HTTPS protocols. The software also encrypts your backups, which are stored on Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers, one of the most secure and reliable cloud service providers in the world.
- Authentication: Manatal also allows you to change your password anytime, and logs you out automatically after a period of inactivity.
- Access control: Manatal uses access control to limit who can access, view, edit, or delete your data, based on the user’s role, responsibility, or need. You’ll be able to create different user roles, such as administrator, manager, consultant, recruiter, or guest, and assign different permissions and access levels to each role. You can also monitor and audit the access activities of your users, and revoke access when necessary.
- Compliance: Manatal uses compliance to ensure that you respect the privacy and rights of your candidates, clients, and other parties, and avoid legal penalties or reputational damage. Other than the SOC 2 Type II, Manatal complies with the data security laws and regulations that apply to your industry and location, such as GDPR and CCPA. the software also allows you to update your data security policies and procedures according to the changing regulatory landscape.
Checklist: Is your recruitment agency vulnerable?
How do you know if your recruitment agency is vulnerable to data breaches or non-compliance? Here is a checklist of questions to help you assess your current data security posture and identify areas for improvement:
- Do you have a data security policy and procedure that covers all aspects of data collection, retention, processing, and sharing?
- Do you encrypt your data both at rest and in transit, using strong encryption methods and tools?
- Do you use strong authentication methods and tools, such as passwords, biometrics, or multi-factor authentication, to prevent unauthorized access to your data?
- Do you use access control methods and tools, such as permissions, roles, or groups, to limit who can access, view, edit, or delete your data?
- Do you backup and recover your data regularly, using reliable backup and recovery methods and tools?
- Do you comply with the data security laws and regulations that apply to your industry and location, such as GDPR, CCPA, or SOC 2 compliance?
- Do you update your data security policy and procedure according to the changing regulatory landscape and best practices?
- Do you monitor and audit your data security activities and incidents, and report them to the relevant authorities and parties?
- Do you educate and train your staff and users on data security awareness and skills?
If you answered yes to all these questions, congratulations! You are doing a great job in keeping your candidate data secure. If you answered no to any of these questions, don’t worry. You can still improve your data security posture by following the best practices and tips we discussed in this article.
Data security is not only a technical issue, but also a business and ethical issue. As a recruiter, you have a responsibility to protect your candidate data from breaches and non-compliance, and to respect their privacy and rights. By doing so, you can also enhance your reputation, trust, and loyalty among your candidates, clients, and other stakeholders, and improve your recruitment outcomes and performance.
To keep your candidate's data secure, you need to follow some data security best practices, such as encryption, authentication, access control, backup and recovery, and compliance. If you want to learn more about data security basics, you can check out the following resources:
- Cybersecurity for Dummies: A book that explains the fundamentals of cybersecurity in a simple and engaging way.
- Cybrary: A website that offers free online courses and certifications on various cybersecurity topics and skills.
- Stay Safe Online: Another site that provides tips and resources on how to protect yourself and your data online.