Paul Finch, Managing Director of Konetic, discusses the challenges as HR data moves to the cloud.
Security in the HR department used to be a straightforward matter. The only vital decision needed was who should hold the key to the filing cabinet storing employees' confidential and personal details.
However, this locked-up data was not often updated and certainly wasn't available almost instantly should the need arise. So, now that much of our data is digital, are we trading transparency and accessibility for security? This question has come further to the fore recently now that suddenly the HR department has become a hot market for new IT applications. The analyst firm Bersin by Deloitte has reported that over the next 18 months, nearly 60 per cent of organisations are planning to implement new HR or talent management systems. Many will be replacing applications run on corporate infrastructure with those delivered by the cloud and as a service (SaaS).
In fact, HR is seen as one of the hottest markets in business at the moment by IT developers, particularly by those creating cloud-based applications, which can be brought to market far quicker than traditional IT software. There are many benefits to these solutions - for example, because the cloud provides high performance computing power, it can capture and analyse huge quantities of data quickly. In areas such as the tracking of job applications, cloud-based applications are enabling teams to significantly cut recruitment costs while still managing their brand reputation.
Also, they give HR departments more say in the type of IT application they use. HR was not often seen as such a mainstream part of a business as say finance or marketing. So, in the past, its needs were sometimes ignored by the IT team who, in some cases, didn't really understand the specialist requirements. Consequently, when cloud technology and software as a service (SaaS) began to gain a hold, HR departments began to find it easier to get sign-off for what they needed, because of the lower costs and the fact that it could be turned on and off on demand.
However, in many cases, this also transfers the responsibility for security from IT to HR - and in most countries this information will have legal protection. Responsibility lies with the data owner or manager, rather than the cloud provider.
This all comes at a time when an increasing amount of employee data is being held - and as more businesses begin to recognise the value of data analytics to identify and predict trends, these volumes are likely to grow further. In times of high unemployment, companies sometimes receive hundreds of applications for each vacancy and corporations running large-scale recruitment programmes such as graduate trainee schemes usually have to handle an exceptional amount of data to fill only a few positions. One of our customers, Deutsche Bank, receives tens of thousands of applications from across the globe for its annual graduate intake for a relatively small number of opportunities. All this data must be carefully stored and managed in compliance with the various global data protection requirements which vary across different regions across the world from the US to Europe to Asia.
So, if HR technology decisions now fall to the HR team, how can they ensure that this information is held with the right security in place? Or if the IT department is still involved, what questions must the HR team ask to ensure the chosen provider meets the stringent standards required by their department?
After all, with a public cloud there could be real issues. True SaaS shares one software solution (with all upgrades, automatically provided to all users instantly) and one universally shared database hosted in the cloud. This means a private or hybrid cloud may be a better choice. With a private cloud, organisations have dedicated resources, giving more control and opportunities for customisation while still offering scalability and flexibility. With the hybrid version, sensitive data can be held privately, while other data is held on a public system.
Konetic’s solutions offer a secure, high volume, SaaS based eRecruitment solution.
Contact us for an initial discussion about your eRecruitment needs.
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