A Game of I Spy: Cyber Threats in the Staffing Industry

463151329As the U.S. workforce changes, a growing number of companies are turning toward the staffing industry to meet their needs. Since the recession ended, the number of temporary workers has increased by more than 50 percent, especially in positions traditionally seen as “white collar.” According to CareerBuilder’s 2013 Annual Jobs Forecast report, computer programming, accounting and auditing, as well as nursing are among the top jobs for temporary workers. As the use of temporary workers increases – particularly in positions that require temporary workers to have access to and work with sensitive data – the risk of a breach in a company’s network or sensitive data heightens. In addition, staffing agencies could face increased exposure to potential third party litigation if their workers cause such breaches.

There are limitations in what a staffing company can do in the event of a breach, but the most essential action that should be taken is assessing the jobs you’re supplying labor for and identifying the risk associated. Having a contract that clearly outlines each party’s responsibility in employee management can prevent misunderstandings that lead to future litigation. Also, it’s critical to ensure that the temporary workers who will be handling sensitive data or having access to a client network pass a background check.

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In addition, there are several measures that staffing agencies can take to assist their clients in reducing the risk of data breaches. First, ensure that clients have controls that limit access to their network and sensitive data. Recommend that clients assess what access temporary works should have, establish appropriate policies and procedures that outline who, what, and how access is established and that an employee education program is in place that provides awareness on network security protocols in accessing and handling sensitive data. Clients should use data encryption, which is a simple but effective way of ensuring if any data breach occurs and information is taken, it’s not readily usable. Also, ensure clients have detection and monitoring systems in place that provide alerts should security protocol be violated. Finally, clients should assess the need for the appropriate level of insurance coverage that will provide a source of financial security in dealing with the cost of a breach.

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Jay Shelton

Jay Shelton
Jay Shelton is the senior vice president of risk management services at Assurance.

Jay Shelton

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