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Why HR and Payroll Security Matters

As our technology grows, so too does the need for even greater security. This also spells more opportunity for cyber criminals.

And while they’ll likely target any software housing personal data, there’s no bounty larger than what they could pull from HR systems. In fact, the breach of one health care business’s payroll left its employees’ income in jeopardy.

Unfortunately, this trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. After all, if cyber criminals were able to compromise a business’s payroll, there’s a possibility it could happen again. But for many businesses, there’s still hesitation about planning for and preventing a security breach, specifically in HR and payroll.

According to a survey conducted by Pollfish and commissioned by Paycom in December 2021, 87% of the responding C-suite executives said security was important to them when evaluating new tech for their business. And while 57% of the respondents claimed they think about the security of their HR and payroll technology most, if not all, of the time, 73% said they don’t have a solid contingency plan for these systems if they experience a significant outage.

With the need for effective security measures growing each day, just thinking about it isn’t enough. But how do you know the HR and payroll software you invest in is powerful enough to protect your interests, organization and employees?

Let’s approach it from two angles:

For employees

Cyberattacks have the potential to impact every piece of your enterprise. But when hackers prey upon your HR and payroll data, your workforce suffers most.

Their personal information — such as their addresses, taxes, compensation and Social Security numbers — is a prime target, especially when it’s available in bulk. And even if their data isn’t lost or stolen, payroll outages themselves carry devastating consequences considering the 69% of Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck, per the American Payroll Association.

No business wants to measure the domino effect of a security breach after the fact, which is why getting ahead of it with the right, comprehensive tech is critical. And this doesn’t mean leaning on the myth that HR and payroll data is more secure when it’s least accessible. In fact, one of the most effective ways of ensuring the integrity of your data, including payroll, is by putting it in the hands of the people it affects most: your employees.

Think about it. Human error is at the heart of many cyberattacks. A study conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Paycom revealed that as many as 73% of employees have experienced an error on their paycheck at least once in their careers. These discrepancies typically force administrators to make quick corrections in the form of voids, wire transfers, rushed manual checks and other actions that could open the door for a breach.

And employees want to help limit this possibility. In the Harris Poll survey, 74% of workers said they would prefer to update the information that impacts their paycheck themselves.

Empowering your workforce with a self-service tool that allows them to view, troubleshoot, verify and approve their own payroll helps reduce the likelihood of these errors and even streamlines your process overall. This also gives more time back to your HR professionals so they’re able to focus on more important, strategic initiatives like a plan of action for security threats.

For employers

When it comes to the success of your business, peace of mind is invaluable. According to the same Pollfish survey, 56% of employers said they would switch their HR tech provider if they experienced a significant outage because of a security issue.

But such a change could be too late in the eyes of your employees. The Harris Poll survey revealed over half of employees (51%) would look for a new job if they experienced any issues with their payroll. Adopting tools that are employee-driven, reliable and proven isn’t just relevant for security — this leverages your retention, too.

When your employees are able to confidently confirm their payroll and other HR data is 100% accurate, this builds a culture of trust, which in turn strengthens engagement and vigilance. Pair this with fully encrypted, single-database HR software, and they have the backing they need to help ensure smooth operations.

Are you looking for a partner in HR that’s certified by the highest security standards? Explore Paycom’s comprehensive, single-software solution to learn more.


DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.

About the author
Author picture, Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Brad Smith has served as Paycom’s Chief Information Officer since April 2018. During his 16 years with Paycom, Brad previously held roles as Paycom’s Director of Software Development and as Director of Information Technology. Before joining Paycom, he served two and a half years as Senior Technical Consultant at BearingPoint and over seven years as Manager of Software Development and Business Intelligence at Fleming Companies, Inc. Brad has over 30 years of information technology and software development experience. He earned his bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Oklahoma State University.