Proactive Cybersecurity in an Ever-Changing Digital Landscape.

January 1, 2024

In today's digital age, the protection of personal data has become a top priority. Every day, our clients and potential clients are inquiring what we do to protect the copious amounts of personal data under our care in this era when cybersecurity is a necessity.

As cyber threats continually evolve, the risks associated with cybersecurity have increased significantly. The surge in sophisticated phishing attempts and cyber scams has made it more challenging to identify and easier to fall victim to these digital traps. Even astute employees can be misled through social engineering tactics. Recognizing the heightened risks is the initial step towards proactive measures and effective cybersecurity.

The truth is, we want our clients to know what Syndeo is doing to keep their data safe. We take cybersecurity, security threats, and cyber risk seriously and have protocols in place to protect our clients, their employees, and Syndeo as well. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This article delves into how Syndeo uses multiple strategies to maximize our security measures, including: 

  • Using multi-factor authentication,
  • Controls for modifying personal data,
  • Extra security controls in our protocols,
  • Education and training we provide Syndeo staff,
  • Security requirements we have in place for our vendors, and 
  • Procuring cyber insurance.

Multi-factor Authentication

One of our first and simplest steps towards greater security is securing access to personal information. We start by requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access our online platforms. MFA requires cross-verification across different channels to confirm a person’s identification. For example, an email login will require a text code sent to your mobile device to log into our secure human resources information system (HRIS). In the modern world, cyber security best practices for user verification require at least two of the following: Something only you know (like a password), something only you have (like receiving an authorization code or authentication token), and something you are (like biometric scan, think: fingerprint). Syndeo requires something you know and something you have. While these practices add an extra step — and maybe a certain amount of inconvenience — the increased level of security it provides to protect private information is worth the trouble. Especially in the event that someone’s device is hacked, lost, or stolen, a hacker would need to provide both points of authentication to be able to access the data. 

Controls for modifying employee data

Implementing controls for modifying data represents another means of safeguarding personal information. Our platforms allow employees access to change their personal information while managers can apply changes to employment information when necessary. Using these self-service tools enhances the security of private information for both our clients and their employees, mitigating potential threats. This modification provides dual protection: initially, employees know who is accessing their information and the data being inputted, thereby thwarting unauthorized access. 

Extra security controls in our protocols

We also have various email, internal, and phishing security controls in place that offer extra levels of protection when communicating with our clients and their employees. Our commitment to staying ahead of potential risks extends to employing advanced encryption technologies, safeguarding sensitive information exchanged during communications. These comprehensive measures underscore our dedication to maintaining the highest standards of security and confidentiality for both our clients and their employees, fostering a trustworthy and secure business environment.

Education and training for Syndeo staff

To be proactive in how we protect data, Syndeo provides education and recurring training for our staff, ensuring they stay abreast of the ever-evolving demands of data security. We teach our employees to verify when working online with clients, employees, or even our vendors. This idea entails expecting truthfulness from the other party, while also taking additional steps to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information exchanged. Verifying a message is done via a different channel than the original communication. For example, it might mean a follow-up phone call to a contact for an email that seems to be a scam or conversing face-to-face with a colleague about a matter. Like MFA, verifying communication is a straightforward way to authenticate the received message.

Additionally, we engage our employees with mock phishing attempts deployed from our Security Awareness software to enhance their ability to detect potential threats aimed at compromising data. What once was made phishing attempts easy to identify, like spelling errors, for example, is no longer the case as the attempts have increased in sophistication. Should an employee succumb to these simulated phishing attempts, we offer supplementary training to thoroughly examine and clarify the specific elements they may have overlooked, reinforcing their capacity to identify similar traps in the future. We use a comprehensive and collaborative risk mitigation and prevention strategy when a test is failed by asking exploratory questions like, "What about this email made you think it was legitimate?" or "Did you check x,y,z before clicking the link?".

Vendors’ data security measures

The nature of HR management requires sharing employees’ personal information with other companies, such as insurance or software providers. Syndeo requires vendors with access to our clients’ personal information to have strong security measures in place, such as a SOC 2 security certification. SOC 2 is a framework that specifies how organizations should use and process personal information to meet compliance standards. We regularly review the access of our shared information and how it is used and securely managed by our vendors. Syndeo also requires these vendors with access to protected information to have cybersecurity coverage.

Procuring cyber insurance

Cyber insurance is one measure Syndeo has in place to further protect our company, employees, and clients from the results of a cyber attack. Cyber insurance policies vary, so finding one that includes coverage for data breaches, vendor/third-party breaches, cyber attacks, or even terrorist attacks is advisable. 

This is what we do. What do you do?

The landscape of security threats and cyber risks is in constant flux, evolving swiftly. It's imperative for every company to establish standards and protocols to safeguard both the organization and its employees. Despite the rapid changes in threats, ensuring that your employees possess a fundamental understanding of data security and how to handle private information can significantly reduce the risk of compromised data. Embracing the minor inconvenience of security measures like multi-factor authentication could possibly mean the difference between a hacker getting access to data or not. Implementing regular cyber training can help your people not fall victim to the latest security fraud. 

Most importantly, having a resilient attitude about keeping up-to-date with evolving security trends will contribute to navigating these challenges with greater ease. 

What are your biggest security concerns? Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe to our newsletter for more thought-provoking HR content from Syndeo. To learn more about how outsourced HR services can get you back to business, contact Syndeo today!

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