Sunday, 27th September 2020

Half of organisations exposed to data security risk in new world of work

One in two (53%) organisations are exposed to undue data security risk thanks to current procedures and processes with HR technology, according to a report released by Thomsons Online Benefits.

‘The age of agility: Flexible, adaptable and resilient benefits’ 2020/21 report, which surveys 542 global HR leaders at organisations of 5,000-50,000+ employees, comes as Covid-19 and the consequent rise in distributed working adds a layer of complexity to GDPR compliance. Four in five (84%) IT leaders report that data loss prevention is more challenging with a remote workforce.

Thomsons’ research suggests that HR leaders are opting for simplicity over security, with 71% accessing their benefits data through general HR software, and 78% using Excel to collect and analyse employee data. While 73% of HR leaders report that they can easily transfer data between their HR systems and benefits providers, it’s also clear that this approach exposes to them to undue risk associated with data errors and security breaches.

What’s more, simplicity does not equal speed. 55% of respondents spend over 11 hours manually transferring data between systems, with one in five (20%) spending over 15 hours on this. Just 7% avoid manual data transfer completely.

Chris Bruce, co-founder and MD, Thomsons Online Benefits, comments: “HR leaders’ reliance on outdated data collection and analytics tools opens their organisations up to risk at a time when the ramifications are considerable. Notwithstanding potentially huge financial penalties, failure to comply with regulation damages a business’ bottom line, breaks employee trust and has an astronomical reputational impact.

“They’re also passing up on the opportunity presented by technology. Equipped with true data analytics capabilities, HR professionals can generate a far clearer picture of how workplace shifts will impact their strategy and spend in specific areas – a capability more crucial than ever given the current environment.”

However, throwing money at the problem does not necessarily give way to a solution. HR teams are struggling to realise the potential of technology investment, purchasing disjointed systems that create silos. These can actually give HR teams more work to do, as they need to make sense of all the data. Indeed, it’s those who allocate more than 60% of their HR budget to technology who spend over 15 hours every month manually transferring data.

In light of the above, it stands to reason that over a third (38%) of HR leaders face barriers when it comes to additional HR technology investment, with the biggest being a ‘lack of C-suite or board-level buy in’.

Chris Bruce adds: “Ultimately, more tech does not equal a better offering, hence the lack of boardroom support. This report highlights how crucial investing in integrated technology that both streamlines the HR function and protects data is, and will continue to be, moving forward. In particular, investing in centralised systems that are interconnected, will demonstrate value and help to unlock further investment.”

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