7 Ways to Maintain Payroll Confidentiality
Confidentiality goes hand in hand with payroll. Employees’ payroll records include essential information like their social security number and address. They also have financial details like wages and banking details. If these details get into the wrong hands, they can cause significant harm. Here are a few practical tips for maintaining payroll confidentiality.
Control Disclosure of Information
Ensure that your payroll staff knows who is privy to what payroll information and who is excluded. Consider having a policy that lists all your payroll documents and the names of auditors entitled to see them. When everything is written down, there are minor misunderstandings. Unauthorized people cannot access payroll data.
If there are requests from government agencies to view the documents, they have to be presented in written forms. Employees should be able to view their payroll records within a reasonable time as provided by state laws.
Generate Electronic Pay Stub
Consider generating electronic pay stubs. It cuts down on paperwork and improves efficiency with tax processes. Online pay stubs allow employees to access their records and information immediately. Using a pay stub maker may enhance the confidentiality of your payroll information. Only authorized members of staff can access the salary details of employees. It promotes the idea of going paperless, which also enables confidentiality.
Use Strong Passwords
Using strong and unique passwords limits the probability of the wrong people accessing your payroll information. Use strong passwords for both your payroll software and computers. Ideally, your passwords should include uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. It should contain at least eight characters. Avoid obvious passwords and consider using a combination of words and numbers that wouldn’t be directly linked to your company.
Even after creating a strong password, you must keep changing it to stay safe. If a former employee has any of your passwords, change them as soon as possible. Anyone that no longer works for your business shouldn’t be able to access your private payroll data. Change passwords even when no one has been fired. Hackers will have a difficult time figuring out your password if you’re constantly changing it.
Use Online Storage
Instead of storing your payroll documents in cabinets, consider switching to online storage. Use cloud-based platforms, and you’ll never have to worry about storage space again. Online storage is safer as it has encryption software and advanced data security features. You get to store large documents securely without affecting their accessibility.
Payroll Staff Security
Payroll members of staff need to work in secure and confidential areas. Even if you only have only one or two payroll staff members, keep them in confidential locations. Emphasize to them the importance of maintaining privacy in payroll data and offer regular training if possible. Talk about the benefits of not talking to other employees about it and logging off-payroll software after use. Consider getting them to sign an agreement of confidentiality.
Salary and Wages Discussions
Keeping payroll information confidential is difficult if you have employees talking about their salaries and wages. Consider providing them with a handbook that lets them know about our views. Reassure them that your business offers a competitive salary and that it is based on merit and experience. Even though employees talking about their wages and salaries may not be great for employers, it isn’t something that you can ban.
Refine Payroll Security Procedures
Refining your payroll safety procedures will keep you safe from data security breaches. Ensure that your security procedures are comprehensive and that all employees receive regular training on using such systems. Employees shouldn’t get used to habits that ultimately expose them to security threats and system misuse. Training should be a part of your internal plan.
Ensure that your payroll systems are updated regularly and on time. If you run older software versions, there may be costly gaps in the retrieval and storage of data. You may be leaving room for security breaches. Vendors of payroll technology typically have automatic system updates. Therefore, you can rest assured that your systems will update when it is time.
Mobile and Email Security
Your business likely has a general security policy that makes it possible to identify threats through anti-malware and anti-virus software. Your overall security policy needs to cover payroll system security. Ensure that all members of the organization understand it and that payroll users follow organizational protocol.
Make sure that employees adhere to email policies in the payroll department. There should be no risk of employees receiving or sending out attachments that may contain private payroll information.
In the mobile world, it is essential to confirm that attachments are encrypted, policies are clear, and security measures have been put in place to protect data being sent from desktops to mobile devices. All members of your team need to be aware of phishing scams and how to avoid them. If the company is requesting employees to send their private information, they need to be contacted directly for accurate identification.
Standardize External Requests
External requests for payroll information are common in most businesses, but they may be setting you up for a data breach. Many entities may need to contact you with financial enquiries. They include mortgage companies, creditors, and insurance providers. However, there is no way to always be sure who is on the other end of the line. When you receive calls asking to verify employees’ income or creditors trying to garnish wages, important information may land into the wrong hands.
Create a standard system through which inquiries can be presented in writing. The right legal channels have to be followed when garnishing wages. Ensure that all your payroll employees know the procedures to be followed before releasing confidential information to third parties.
Keeping payroll information confidential is a must. It promotes security and prevents jealousy among employees. If the information falls into the wrong hands, it could stir conflict in the workplace or, worse, compromise the safety of your employees.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or the management of EconoTimes