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Half of organizations exposed to data security risk in new world of work

(Image credit: Image Credit: Perfectlab / Shutterstock)

Shielding sensitive data from cyberattacks and leaks has become more challenging since the coronavirus lockdown was enforced, a new report from Thomsons Online Benefits states.

Based on a poll of 542 global HR leaders, the report argues that more than half of businesses are now exposed to “undue data security risks”, while 84 percent of IT leaders are said to consider data loss prevention a bigger challenge than it used to be.

One of the problems, the report argues, is the fact that HR leaders prefer “simplicity over security”. Seven in ten admitted to accessing their benefits data through general HR software. Further, almost four in five (78 percent) are using Excel to collect and analyze employee data, mostly because they can easily transfer that information between systems and benefits providers.

However, this approach exposes businesses to a range of risks, including data errors and security breaches.

The report also states that simplicity doesn't necessarily equate to productivity. More than half of the survey's respondents spend more than 11 hours manually transferring data between systems and a fifth spends as much as 15 hours on this task. Only seven percent of businesses have fully automated this process.

Chris Bruce, co-founder and MD at Thomsons Online Benefits, warns businesses that relying on outdated data collection and analytics tools brings with it regulation challenges that could impact their bottom line, damage employee trust and have an “astronomical” reputational impact.

Bruce also warns businesses that simply “throwing money” at a problem won’t make it go away, and that many make the mistake of investing in technology only to end up with siloed data and even more work to do.

“In particular, investing in centralized systems that are interconnected, will demonstrate value and help to unlock further investment,” he concluded.