UBP blog

07/15/2009

Encrypting employee information and identity theft

Filed under: Massachusetts encryption law — ubpblogger @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

Although 42 of our 50 states that have passed what are called, “data breach notification laws,” Massachusetts is definitely leading the charge on the issue of safekeeping critical information, and seemingly, for all benefits reform in the U.S. Massachusetts has legislated that encryption of all critical employee data be accomplished by 2010. This could save millions of dollars (and thousands of families) by virtually ending identity theft in the workplace. But is it worth the burden on corporations, both in time and financially? Are we asking too much? How are overtaxed, understaffed employee benefits teams to accomplish this?

Although one of the biggest issues for organizations and their employee benefits teams right now is that a critical data breach almost insures that you’ll be slapped with one (or more) class-action lawsuits – thus becoming a huge liability issue – the costs of preventing such a breach (i.e., identity theft) can be huge. With millions of records already lost and millions more at risk  there’s simply no way to get around the fact that encryption of records MUST be part of a comprehensive data security plan.

Why? Quite bluntly, anyone who’s been – or who knows someone who’s been — the victim of identity theft will tell you that it’s an awful, horrible crime – and trying regain their status and protect themselves in the future is like a never ending nightmare. The amount of personal data collected by employee benefits teams and human resources departments is, by necessity, enormous. Protecting those individuals MUST be a top priority, and if the nation follows the lead of Massachusetts any time soon, it will be.

If you’re fortunate enough, you may find that your insurance broker is actually able to maintain all of your employee data and handle the encryption issue themselves, thus protecting your employees AND your company from the nightmare of identity theft and the liability that goes along with it

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