• Government and CIPD join forces to tackle cyber security at work

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  • 5 Feb 2016
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HR should be ‘influencers’ when it comes to protecting data, says MP

The CIPD has launched an e-learning course aimed at helping HR professionals tackle the growing possibility of cyber attacks against their organisations.

The free ‘Cyber Security For HR professionals’ course is supported by the government, and is part of a wider Whitehall ambition for HR professionals to be influencers of cyber security issues in the workplace.

Funding for the course is provided by the government’s National Cyber Security Programme, and was officially launched last night (Thursday 4th February) by Ed Vaizey MP, minister for culture and the digital economy.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said: “Organisations need to think much more broadly and consider how they are equipping their employees with the knowledge and understanding they need to help to protect their organisation and its data.”

“While risk is fundamentally down to how people make decisions and judgements, businesses can still be left exposed,” he added.

Vaizey said: "HR professionals handle sensitive personal data so it's crucial they are able to protect this properly. They are also responsible for recruiting, managing and developing the workforce, so are in the perfect position to help colleagues understand cyber security.”

“The new e-learning module we're launching with the CIPD will help the HR profession tackle cyber threats and help keep our citizens and businesses safe in cyber space."

The course will provide information about how HR professionals can protect sensitive HR data, as well educate the wider workforce on the risks of data security, and how to create a culture of care, which will protect the business as a whole.

However, Cheese said tackling cyber security is not a license for HR to snoop on employees, but the opportunity to create an empowered employee culture.

He said: “Understanding behavioural risk may lead to greater use of technology to monitor people and their actions at work, but it’s important HR balances this with the right ethical considerations and trust and empowerment of employees.”

He added: “HR also needs to look at cultures and systems in place that can lead people to make mistakes that expose organisations to risks, whether this is a long-hours culture or people simply not having the tools to do their jobs properly.”

The course arrives as the CIPD’s own HR Outlook report finds nearly half (46 per cent) of non-HR leaders and two-fifths (38 per cent) of HR leaders say risks posed by cyber security are now amongst their top three technology-related issues.

In 2014 there were more than one billion personal data records compromised by cyber attacks – with the average cost of each stolen record hitting $154 (£106), according to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of Data Breach Study. It is estimated the average total cost of a data breach to a company is now $3.79 (£2.61) million – an increase of 23 per cent increase since 2013.

Further reading:

How to get a grip on cyber security

Six things HR needs to know about cyber security

Cyber criminals target staff on social media

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Comments (2)
  • Thanks for commenting R Laban.

    We've added a link to the CIPD course at the bottom of the article

  • Thanks for that. Sounds really good, so how can I access the free ‘Cyber Security For HR professionals’ course/ new e-learning module?