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Human resources needs a seat at the security table to deal with cyber attacks

By Shandel McAuliffe | |5 minute read
Human resources needs a seat at the security table to deal with cyber attacks

The rapid evolution of the cyber threat landscape is an area of risk universally for organisations and individuals. Those who manage this area, including emerging risks and threats, in the strongest way will have a distinct competitive advantage.

This isn’t to say most companies aren’t already trying to pull out all stops to protect confidential information, but it does underline the importance of being at the forefront of emerging technology and leveraging the latest innovations to fortify and increase layers of protection.

Cyber security incidents and real case studies sound a warning for every individual and company, no matter the size. Cyber incidents put private and confidential IP at risk, often exposing data that can put individuals and organisations at risk of identity theft.


HR leaders and professionals need to take notice of these rising concerns.

Data security is a strategic business asset for HR professionals

Security breaches have far-reaching effects, including financial losses, erosion of IP, compliance issues, reputation damage, loss of trust and confidence from clients, customers and shareholders to name a few.

Companies that manage this risk well will not only maintain but accelerate their position in the market and more easily attract talent, while those that fail to do so are left behind losing valuable time, resources, and talent as they manage the fallout from security breaches.

What can HR do?

Where it was previously seen as inevitable to have certain areas of weakness where companies were left exposed, this no longer needs to be the case. Technological innovation in data security is rapidly emerging and competitive organisations need to review and update their systems.

The ever-present threat of cyber attacks has seen the rise of specialist partners (IT resellers) who are experts in data management, risk mitigation and cyber security. It’s critical that not only IT departments and executive management are having conversations with their cyber security providers, but HR also needs a seat at that table.

We have partners who have prevented major cyber attacks simply by offering training on cyber security to their customers’ staff. We saw a good example of how a staff member of a large organisation caught a scam earlier this year because she knew what to look for, based on past events.

Equally, it is important to continuously educate employees to be aware of the legislative requirements around the collection, handling and storage of personal, private and confidential information as well as the changing nature of data breaches and the evolving mechanisms with which scammers, hackers and other threats operate.

These threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and personalised so continuous education and awareness initiatives are important to keep the issue of data security, the risks and legal implications front-of-mind. This ensures that staff are involved in protecting business interests as well as better equipped to protect themselves.

Employees can help businesses and leaders keep on top of the evolving threat landscape by being able to identify new attacks based on key signatures of previous attacks.

Vladimir Mitnovetski is the COO and executive director at Dicker Data

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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