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Payroll protection top tips for securing your payroll data

August 3, 2017

The rise in the reporting of ever-increasing data leaks have showed businesses the need to ensure they have secure systems and procedures in place, especially payroll management systems.

Snapchat recently reported some of its payroll data had been exposed after an employee was duped by an email phishing scam which appeared to have been sent by the company’s CEO, and forwarded private information to a fraud address. Sony Music was also famously targeted by hackers in the past which revealed artist’s salaries.

In Lewis Morgan’s list of data breaches and cybersecurity attacks during the month of April this year more than 10 million data records were shown to have been affected.

The Need to Keep Data Secure

Payroll departments are now having to handle more data than ever before, as payroll legislation and pay systems become increasingly complex, providing real time information to HMRC. Personal and potentially sensitive information such as sickness records, pay deductions and participation in salary sacrifice schemes are recorded by the payroll function.

Under the Data Protection Act, businesses are legally responsible to protect personal data, this directly impacts the payroll department which must ensure these details remain secure. Most organisations which store and handle personal data are required to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), but there is an exemption for organisations which process this data only for purposes of payroll and staff admin.

In spite of this exemption, companies are still required to comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act. This includes keeping information secure and taking necessary measures to ensure data is protected.

If a data protection breach does occur, the ICO can serve an enforcement notice resulting in a financial penalty as much as up to a maximum of half a million pounds for the most serious incidents.

Ways to Protect Payroll

Cybersecurity is increasingly vital for payroll departments. You need to ensure staff can only see their own information and there is no risk of them accessing company member’s payroll data. This means using systems with features such as passwords, secure servers and firewalls.

To be cybersecure, it is important staff understand and are alert to scam risks as the Snapchat incident demonstrated. Payroll managers must ensure all staff are thoroughly trained on how to deal with external requests for information, verifying that people are who they say they are before any personal details are handed over.

Another security consideration is the layout of the payroll department. For instance, you need to make sure that any members of staff coming into the office with queries cannot see other people’s information lying about or displayed on screens. As well as keeping all digital files secure, all sensitive paper documents need to be locked in cabinets.

To manage records in the right way out of date information should be destroyed once it is no longer needed. Keeping records for as long as they are required is obviously important, but once the information is no longer needed it should be removed from your systems.

Getting Help from Payroll Experts

Keeping track of payroll security can be a difficult and time-consuming task for businesses, so it is helpful if you can turn to experts to advise you and help choose payroll software which has the security features your business requires already built in.

For example, an audit trail can show not only when any alteration was made to any file within the system but also which employee made the changes.

Other features helping to improve security include employee self-service and online payslips, which are growing in popularity. Instead of being given a paper payslip in a thin envelope, which could all too easily be mislaid, employees can feel safe in the knowledge that their information can only be accessed by logging in via a secure server.

Two factor authentication can add a further layer of protection, ensuring that, in addition to a password, a user also has to provide another item giving ID. For instance, this could be a mobile phone where a text message can be sent giving a code which needs to be input before accessing your payslip.

It is vital that at every stage of the payroll process security features are in place keeping this highly personal data secure at all times.

Secure Payroll Solutions with Miracle Dynamics

You can be assured of secure payroll solutions with Miracle Dynamics. We offer HMRC approved payroll packages for the Miracle Dynamics NAV or AX user. Our Miracle Pay P11D captures sensitive employee benefits and expense data in a secure way.

Miracle Pay P11D add-on records company cars, mileage allowances, living accommodation, company loans and medical care with the data sent to HMRC via paper format or electronically via e-government gateway.

We have a range of Payroll, HR, workforce, umbrella and self-service solutions plus add-ons allowing a secure means of sending electronic payslips. Solutions for complex payroll requirements, the online storage and access of payslips, P60s and much more.

Miracle Portal provides a smart way to record and manage absences having been designed to enable HR departments to reduce their admin by empowering employees to take control of their own holiday and sick leave in a secure way.

If you are looking for a secure payroll management system or have any questions on how we can help you please contact us here.

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