Privacy has been a major issue recently. Between government surveillance, data breaches and information leaks, stakeholders in every industry are wondering how well their information is protected —if at all. High-profile data breaches and government intrusions are even bringing privacy and security to the forefront of consumers’ minds.
At the same time, employees often wonder whether they have any privacy at all. The measures companies take to protect trade secrets, strategies and other sensitive data can seem intrusive, to say the least, and the resulting lack of privacy can easily hinder workplace morale. The same is often true of electronically enhanced safety measures, many of which require tracking, surveillance and insights into workers’ health information.
Fortunately, employers and employees can still work together to protect their information—all the while providing for safe, productive workplaces. Striking a balance between employee privacy and employer security isn’t always easy, but it can be done. Following are a few helpful strategies.
Understand Your Risks
Whether their actions are purposeful or not, employees are often careless when it comes to securing sensitive information. A recent support staff survey found that 53 percent of workers have overheard confidential conversations at work. What’s more, 10 percent have found documents in the trash or on the ground that could get themselves or a fellow worker into trouble with management. If you’re using a safety software suite, some of your employees are probably handling personal health records and other sensitive information, and it’s critical for that information to remain confidential.
Know the Law
To avoid fines and litigation, you also need to understand the privacy laws that apply to your industry and company. For instance, listening to employees’ conversations or voicemail messages is rarely legal, even when they’re using company phones. Monitoring emails and Web use, on the other hand, is typically allowable. Privacy regulations vary at the federal, state and local levels, and you’ll likely need to hire an employment attorney to help create policies that take them all into account.
Create a Security Plan
As with any technology initiative, the implementation of safety software requires a solid security plan. This plan should include both employee privacy measures and your company’s security concerns. It should also outline what to do in cases where the two conflict. Will employees be allowed to access the safety suite from smartphones, tablets and other personal devices? Will the safety software leverage the same single sign-on system used for your other applications? How will you ensure that management doesn’t have access to the personal health information employees may need to add to the system? These are the kinds of questions you need to answer ahead of time.
Inform Your Employees
Last but certainly not least, you need to make your safety, security and privacy policies known to everyone at your company. Confidential, personal information is much less likely to leak when people know which communications are being monitored, which are secure and which are matters of public record. Likewise, your company will be at far less risk of a breach if everyone is brought on board with policies related to sign-ons, device usage and other security matters.
Safety software provides a secure platform for entering company information and uploading the documents your staff needs. To learn more about how safety software can improve privacy and security at your company, contact BasicSafe today.