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Organisations need a hand with compliant data protection, warns OpenText

Employee data protection and management has become a top priority for organisations as compliance and e-documentation mandates sweep the world, according to information management software vendor OpenText.

Blogging for OpenText, the company’s senior industry strategist for compliance and legal, Andy Teichholz, said that “omnibus” data privacy laws worldwide mean that more attention is directed at how organisations collect, manage, and dispose of employee-related personal data.

“While organisations need to focus on updating privacy notices and evaluating other programme activities, content management strategies need to be reconsidered to ensure stronger governance and content protection associated with employee-related personal data,” Teichholz said.

Employee files should be managed compliantly, which typically means having a records management checklist, he added.

Not only should contact information, job application data, performance reviews, time keeping and salary details be handled with care but any other data that could be associated with an employee — including biometrics, geolocation data, or ethnic origin and other protected categories.

“Data that someone can reasonably identify about an employee while interviewing or performing their job responsibilities … requires greater security protections given its sensitive nature,” he said.

“This is particularly challenging when it might be housed in unstructured environments such as emails, network shares, laptops and other locations.”

Employers including in the USA may also need to inform their employees about their data collection practices and related rights.

At many organisations, unless changes are made to processes and specialised tools to automate activities, “very well-trained personnel” will be needed that have enough institutional knowledge to identify and mine related content, according to Teichholz.

Integrated, compliant central repository management of content can mitigate risk, improving searchability and auditability of employee documents in ways that aid efforts to review, redact, secure and share/export employee files, he suggested.

“It is critical for solutions to make it easy to keep track of all the shifting rules around privacy for employee documents. Organisations need to revisit their records retention practices including policies based on country, region, and job specifications as well as defensible disposition activities,” Teichholz said.

OpenText previewed the rollout of its new Cloud Editions (CE) 23.2 back in March at OpenText World EMEA, showcasing a slew of updates targeting digital transformation and complexity challenges around information and content management for the enterprise.

The company aims at enabling customers, partners and organisations to understand and act on large amounts of information available across diverse applications.

( Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash )

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