One of the biggest concerns shared by both human resources and information technology professionals is security. While managing employee benefits online can streamline processes and help plan administrators work more efficiently, it also presents new challenges related to employee privacy and data security.
When utilizing digital tools for your benefits teams and employees, it’s critical to take the necessary steps to protect that information.
“Trust is the foundation of what we do,” said Puneet Bhasin, Executive Vice President, Global Chief Information and Digital Officer (CIDO) at Unum Group (of which Colonial Life is a subsidiary). “From the policies we offer to how we keep personal information on the Colonial Life for Clients portal secure, we take our customers’ trust seriously.”
One of the ways Colonial Life increased security is through the adoption of multifactor authentication (MFA) to confirm identities when users log in. When logging into a digital portal with MFA, users first enter their passwords, followed by a unique code sent to a trusted email address or mobile phone number. Thus, even if a password is hacked or stolen, there is a second line of defense to protect the user.
In 2020, the Society for Human Resource Management noted, “large organizations increased their use of MFA by 20 percent, and approximately 55 percent of small organizations reported using MFA for HR applications.”
And, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a part of the United States Department of Commerce, “if a business you interact with regularly, say your health organization, wants to provide you with convenient online access to health records, test results, and invoices, but only offers a password as a way to protect that data, consider saying: ‘no thanks, not until you provide MFA to secure my information.’”
“Cybersecurity is more important than it’s ever been,” added Bhasin. “It’s our responsibility to protect our clients’ and customers’ information. The use of MFA, along with other safeguards, allows our clients to use our tools with confidence.”
Security should be effective and simple
Of course, there is a balance: security cannot be at the expense of ease of use. Digital benefits tools are intended to simplify processes. As the SHRM article pointed out, “HR leaders also can help enhance security by encouraging their companies to re-evaluate user access policies.” Allowing your HR team to have various levels of access is yet another way to protect your data while keeping things easy for everyone logging in.
Rather than avoid digitization out of fear, HR teams should look to update and advance the ways they work with the same eye towards security they’ve always had. While previously that may have involved things like shredding documents with social security numbers and other personal information – a tedious and often costly process – now it’s a few extra keystrokes and digital infrastructure that work behind the scenes to keep information secure. See how easy it is to mesh convenience and security by accessing your account on the Colonial Life for Clients portal.