Payroll Briefs

8 Ways to Keep Your Payroll Data Protected from Cyber Threats

July 20, 2023

Payroll security procedures are essential for safeguarding sensitive employee information, avoiding fraud and regulatory violations. Payroll data contains private information that should only be accessible by authorized individuals, such as employee names, social security numbers, tax information, bank account numbers and other private data. Yet, putting reliable payroll department security measures into place can take time and effort, particularly for small- and medium-sized businesses with constrained resources.  

Here are eight ways you can help keep your payroll data secure.  

Protecting Employee Data 

  • Limit access to payroll data and systems – Companies should put access controls in place, such as user authentication and role-based access control, to restrict access to payroll records based on an employee’s job function and level of responsibility.  
  • Two-factor authentication – For added security, businesses should use two-factor authentication (2FA). To access payroll data, 2FA mandates employees give an additional authentication factor, such as a biometric identifier or a one-time code. 
  • Implement strong password policies – Companies should set password policies requiring employees to create complex passwords. A minimum length, a combination of uppercase and lowercase characters, digits and symbols should all be included in this. 
  • Regularly review and update access – Routinely assessing and updating access to payroll records and systems ensures only authorized personnel access payroll records. 
  • Regularly back up payroll data – Backups guarantee payroll data can be restored during loss, tampering or security breaches. Businesses should set up a timetable for routine backups and ensure they are securely stored, preferably offsite or in the cloud. 
  • Have a cybersecurity risk assessment done – As an added security measure, consider hiring an external provider to conduct an assessment to determine your current exposure. Our CPA and advisory affiliate, Doeren Mayhew, can assist with performing a cybersecurity assessment.  
  • Train employees on cybersecurity and phishing awareness – Employers should regularly train their staff on the best cybersecurity procedures as well as how to identify and steer clear of phishing scams. Creating a culture around cybersecurity will allow your employees to become a resource in identifying issues that could potentially put the company at risk.  
  • Work with a secure third-party payroll provider – It’s crucial you select a trustworthy service provider, like DM Payroll Solutions, that employs proper security measures to keep your employees’ data protected. Perform some due diligence on your current provider, such as: 
    • Ask them for their annual service organization controls (SOC) report. This will provide insight into the organization’s security, availability, processing, integrity, confidentiality and privacy controls. 
    • Review their security policies and procedures, as well as their incident response plan for dealing with a cyber crisis threatening your payroll data. 
    • Ensure they have strong security controls in place for transferring your company’s payroll information into their systems. 
    • Understand their process for alerting you to potential threats and strange activity. 

It is important for organizations to not put cybersecurity on the back burner, for all areas of their business. Included in the cybersecurity strategy of any organization should be their payroll data and systems. By taking the steps mentioned above, you will have the procedures in place to protect against cyber threats.  

Need Extra Payroll Security? 

Is your payroll data as safe as it could be? If you are not leveraging DM Payroll Solutions as your payroll provider, it likely isn’t. Secured behind a Citrix firewall, rest assured your data is safe with us! Contact us today to find out what we do to keep our clients’ data secure and confidential.