To any cybercriminal, payroll data is a treasure trove of highly-valuable personal information. In previous posts, we have covered payroll data breaches such as the recent Morrisons and Lush cosmetics breach both show poor payroll security can have serious consequences for both employees and organizations themselves – everything from identity theft to ransom demands.


Too often in these cases, it’s emerged that the company concerned was sharing payroll data by email or spreadsheet. All it takes is a moment of carelessness – clicking on a link in an unsolicited email, for example – and the entire payroll system can be exposed. And as an organization grows and expands, the risks increase.


Meanwhile, international payroll expansion brings a whole extra set of data privacy challenges and compliance issues for human resources and payroll departments. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is particularly important, requiring organizations to share sensitive data securely, store no more than necessary and implement adequate technical and organizational data protection measures.


And there are huge fines for data breaches: up to €20 million, or four percent of annual turnover, whichever is higher.


As a result, according to a recent survey by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), GDPR is the biggest concern of payroll managers, cited by 38.5 percent of respondents.


One answer to both of these issues is to switch to centralized cloud-based payroll software.


Using a global payroll software ensures data is stored securely on remote servers but is immediately accessible to anyone with the correct authorization. Payroll teams and in-country payroll providers can work together in real-time on tasks without having to directly exchange information, improving efficiency as well as security. Repeatable tasks are automated saving resource time and eliminating mistakes, software can be integrated into the HCM allowing for a closed-looped global payroll process that can encourage zero-touch payroll processing.


Importantly, a good cloud-based global payroll platform will include features that enforce security practices automatically. These include the creation of different access levels that mean staff can only see the information they need to do their job. Sign-in authentification and password controls then make sure that these access levels can’t be abused, while clear audit trails mean it’s possible to see exactly who’s accessed what personal data, and when.


And as for all the privacy headaches associated with GDPR, moving to a cloud-based global payroll system will alleviate those. Tools are available that can help payroll managers manage and control the employee’s personal data they hold for payroll purposes, which can produce automated compliance reports.


It’s no surprise, then, that more and more organizations are moving to cloud-based payroll systems: in a survey earlier this year, Deloitte found that 39 percent of respondents had already done so – up from just 14 percent three years before. Another 21 percent are planning the move.


While the prime reason may not always be improvements to security, there’s no doubt that it’s a significant factor and helps payroll professionals sleep a little better at night.


If securing your employee’s personal data is a priority in your multi-national organization, contact us today for more information about the data security elements of our global payroll software.


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