Confidential data blunder in Canada hints at importance of effective HR
For many companies, turning to the HR recruitment agency Elite HR can be crucial for helping them to find great candidates for HR jobs in Surrey, Southampton and Portsmouth. Furthermore, having the right kinds of people holding these jobs can greatly help these companies in ways that they might not even consider prior to recruitment. To help to demonstrate this point, we will draw attention to a recent incident in Canada, where, as revealed by the country’s interim privacy commissioner Chantal Bernier, the department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada failed to help to maintain the security of confidential data – with notably adverse consequences.
An “unacceptable and avoidable incident“
On 5 November 2012, a department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, otherwise cited as HRSDC, discovered that a portable hard drive, which included confidential data of 583,000 Canadian Student Loans Program borrowers from 2000 to 2006, was missing. The data included that related to student names, social security numbers and birth dates and contact information for 250 employees.
As revealed in a report that was recently tabled in the Canadian Parliament, because the hard drive was insecure due to the absence of password protection or encryption, the confidentiality of the data on the drive was compromised. Bernier has claimed that the Canadian government did not adhere to its own policies to protect this data and warned: “Protecting personal information cannot be ensured by having policies on paper. Policies must be put into practice each and every day and monitored regularly.” Diane Finley, Canada’s Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, has reported expressing her disappointment at “this unacceptable and avoidable incident in handling Canadians’ personal information.”
Crucial lessons to be learned from a tragic incident
The hard drive has still not been found and we think that the whole incident helps to demonstrate how crucial it is for employees in any company that regularly handles confidential data to be appropriately educated about data security. For example, it is important that, at any company, data security policies are not only in place, but also understood by employees. It is also crucial that the employees understand how important it is for them to adhere to the policies – as, if they don’t understand this, they could easily fail to adhere to them. The HR recruitment agency Elite HR can help many companies to get HR staff who can help to ensure such understanding.