Tracking employee data with an online software program is something you’ve considered for a long time. After all, Web-based software is more efficient, more accurate and a lot quicker than doing the work by hand. But, as an employer, you’re worried about safety and security.

Business owners wonder if their HR data is secure in the cloud and if others can access their employee information. Could private information turn up in a Google search, for instance?

It’s a concern that comes up frequently and one that will likely continue to worry consumers as the Trump administration rolls back privacy protections for Web users. New legislation signed in March 2017 allows Internet providers to access and use a wide range of customer data without their consent. That’s why it’s even more important for Internet users to carefully check privacy policies and exercise caution when choosing an online service.

In fact, many businesses avoid online HR software because they worry about whom their data will be shared with and whether it will be safe. The answer is simple: Do your homework and ask questions.

According to the Pew Institute, 84% of Internet users expressed concern that businesses or people they don’t know could obtain personal information about themselves or their families.

Understanding Online Data Privacy: 3 Facts to Consider

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and streamline your business operations with an online HR app, you know that your business data will be stored in the cloud. It will be accessible any time by any computer, anywhere. Happily, the move will eliminate the inefficiencies of paper recordkeeping, such as maintaining and storing bulky personnel files.

But will your data be kept private? The answer hinges on a few factors.

  1. Security is essential to data privacy the cloud
  2. Privacy policies matter
  3. Google and the Cloud Aren’t the Same

Security Is Essential to Data Privacy in the Cloud

When you entrust your business data to the cloud, software security is what keeps it safe. So make sure you choose a partner with a good system in place and ask questions if you aren’t sure.

Secure services route all account information through impenetrable firewalls to prevent outside threats, plus online software is password-protected and encrypted.

This keeps your data safe while it’s in transit, and firewalls keep it safe once it arrives at its destination. The software should be designed to eliminate potential weaknesses upfront, and be tested regularly for any flaws. Advanced servers follow strict international and industry-specific compliance standards and allow only limited access.

These practices help safeguard your data privacy and security.

More Americans are worried about their data privacy than about losing jobs, a study by the National Cyber Security Alliance concluded.

Privacy Policies Matter

If you’re worried about how your data may be used, read the provider’s privacy policy. It’s all there in black and white. A privacy policy will clearly state if and how your information will be shared and with whom.

Reviewing the privacy policy may be all that’s needed to help you decide if you feel comfortable using an online app. Just remember, all privacy policies are not created equal, so read the fine print!

For example, look for a provider that only uses credit card information and addresses to process orders. Personal data such as Social Security numbers and salary information that is entered into the app should never be shared.

Some software programs may collect general information on your Internet usage, such as which browser you use and how long you visit a particular site. This information may be used to improve a customer’s experience on the site or to provide customized advertising.

Sometimes information is shared with other businesses so they can contact you with their own marketing deals. It depends on what is outlined in the privacy policy.

Different privacy policies permit different levels of sharing and data collection, so make sure you read them carefully.

  • Does the privacy policy address the collection of personal information?
  • What kind of general information is collected?
  • Is your information shared, and if so, with whom?
A recent survey showed that 52% of Internet users believe — incorrectly — when a company posts a privacy policy it means the company will not share their personal information with other websites or companies. Source: Pew Research Center

Google and the Cloud Aren’t the Same

When it comes to the security of your private business information, you might wonder if it will turn up in a random online search. Rest easy! The content you’ll find in a Google search is different from the content that”s saved to the cloud. A Google search sorts through information from publicly available resources across the entire Internet. Cloud resources require some kind of sign-in to upload or download data.

Searching for data on Google and in the cloud are different because of the differing security levels. Anyone can do a Google search, but cloud access requires special privileges. Data stored in the cloud is secured by a firewall and is password-protected to restrict access.

62% of those responding to a Microsoft survey said their levels of privacy protection increased as a result of moving to the cloud.

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  • Software security is essential to cloud data privacy.
  • Privacy policies explain how your data will be used.
  • Google only collects information that is public.
  • Cloud access requires personal authentication.
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