How to Secure Your Payroll Against Cybercrime

26th September 2019

In order to secure your payroll against cybercrime and phishing scams in today’s complex digital world, you need a combination of technology and trust. Securing your payroll means keeping the personal data of your employees safe. It is an essential part of everyday payroll management that can have catastrophic effects if a security breach happens.

Cybercrime is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. This equates to the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.

The costs of hacks and data breaches include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm.

Cyber security and fraud prevention affect businesses of all sizes, every day. Yet despite this, 37% of SMEs believe that they are too small a business to be worth targeting. Don’t fall into this trap!

Payroll security is a vital element of our service at IRIS FMP, so here are just 5 ways you can shore up your payroll processes.

5 Easy Ways to Secure Your Payroll

1. Keep a clean house

In order to maintain secure payroll, make sure all staff are aware of what’s expected of them. Reinforce your procedures regularly to ensure that staff feel comfortable with the typical course of action. It’s also best to really get to know your team and create an environment where everyone trusts each other. Be careful to only expose staff to the information they need, when they need it, to protect privacy and keep information secure.

Make sure you’re vigilant in your approach to everything, from locking doors to locking filing cabinets. If there’s information stored offsite, put security in place that only allows access for employees and management.

Despite this seeming very obvious, it’s best to be reminded of the small things to keep a tight ship and make sure everyone feels secure.

If you are considering outsourcing your payroll, make sure that you choose a payroll provider you can trust. Check that your company holds the correct accreditation and has a track record of trustworthiness and security.

2. Remember your ABCs

Assume nothing, Believe no one, Check everything. Keep your ABCs in mind when you are handling payroll data. This applies to everything, especially expenses forms. Whenever anyone submits an expenses form, spend some time looking through it. Don’t simply assume they’ve filled it in correctly and accurately because, naturally, mistakes and exaggerations can be made.

Another good habit to get into is carrying out regular audits on your accounts. Following this procedure regularly, every quarter or possibly more frequently, will help iron out any creases that might have occurred, before allowing them to develop into any problems. We’ve put together some helpful advice on Payroll Audit processes to help you on your way.

Being mindful of double-checking all of the information that you receive is extremely beneficial, and often it saves time when you are more thorough initially as opposed to retrospectively.

3. Have structured policies

It’s really important to have clearly defined and well-structured policies in place. That way, everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and knows what to expect. This applies to all typical policies, such as overtime, flexi-time and leaving policies, as well as policies that might be more specific to your business.

Setting out where your company stands on each policy is important because you’re being open with your employees and letting them know what they can expect from their time working with you. This is beneficial for employee and employer, as having a written policy-specific document is handy to refer back to should anyone need to.

4. Backup your payroll data

Only 27% of SMEs backup their data. This is a shockingly small amount because, regardless of the size of your company or the amount of data you hold, your data could still be lost or tampered with.  This could lead to a disaster for your business. Any number of issues can occur, from technical faults to malicious attacks, so backing up your payroll data is vital.

You should always have a backup procedure. Your business stores the payroll information of all your staff. This vital and sensitive information needs to be secure at all times. In addition, if this data is lost or deleted, it makes your pay run take so much longer. This then leads to delays in staff getting their wages and all the knock-on effects this causes.

There are lots of ways to back up your payroll data. You can have a separate backup server which is stored offsite, you can manually back it up using a tape, or you can use a cloud system. If you outsource your payroll, make sure you used an approved and accredited service that practices safe backup procedures.

5. Training and education

Drilling into your employees the importance of staying secure is a vital step in building up your defences. Everyone needs to be aware, and be careful, with the information they are handling. Basic steps such as having strong passwords for each user, which are not stored on computers or sent in emails, needs to be second nature for each member of staff.

There is always a possibility for human error, but regular and updated training sessions should be carried out, as well as updates made to computer systems and software that’s used.

Security does come down to an individual level, as well as requiring precautions to be put in place as a company. Make sure there isn’t a weakness in any of your defences by being secure at every level.

There are lots of steps you can take to secure your payroll, but it starts with people. Educate your teams, keep an eye on the latest trends and work with trusted payroll partners. Once everyone starts working with security at the forefront, technology provides your people with the tools they need to put it into practice.

As a trusted payroll provider, we are fully accredited, HMRC recommended and trusted by hundreds of businesses, both in the UK and abroad. Check out our brochure for more information.

The Ultimate Guide To Payroll For Small Businesses

Read our step by step guide to processing payroll and common payroll mistakes.

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