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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) originates in the European Union (EU), but its implications regarding the collection and management of personal data stretch far beyond the EU’s borders.

While the GDPR emphasizes consumer information, this regulation also affects the way companies maintain employee data. Organizations must now operate with greater transparency and ensure the security of that data. This is particularly true for companies that use learning management systems (LMSs) to facilitate their recruiting and employee onboarding efforts.

While the GDPR stipulates many things, compliance begins with obtaining consent from employees and prospects to collect and retain their information. It imposes many additional requirements from there, such as the necessity of encrypting data. In the event of a data breach, companies must make a report to a data protection authority. To comply, you might need a more stringent HR data protection policy and increased LMS security.

The GDPR is an essential move during a time of heightened cybersecurity concerns. Ultimately, the GDPR and HR departments have a shared goal: safeguarding employees and companies. You should evaluate your data safety protocols and analyze the nature of any information your company has on hand. That sort of scrutiny requires a critical look at the capabilities of your LMS.

Modern Technology, Modern Compliance Challenges

Ensuring data security during the onboarding process is of the utmost importance. Many HR and recruiting officials are using LMSs to train new staff members, bridge performance gaps, and vet candidates during the interview process. Incoming employees provide plenty of personal data through employee onboarding software assuming that it’s secure.

HR professionals must reevaluate how they collect and store data through employee training software. In addition to employee consent requirements, the GDPR also grants new and existing employees the right to view any information you have on them. The GDPR also outlines what information can be kept and for how long.

Many companies might not already have the LMS features in place to suit these requirements, but it’s never too late to get up to speed. With the right system in place, maintaining data security and accuracy will reduce your investment of time and resources. Furthermore, learning technologies that comply with the GDPR provide the peace of mind that your company is not vulnerable to breaches or at risk of noncompliance fines.

5 Security Measures Your Onboarding Software Needs

The GDPR and HR departments both place the same high priority on information security, so compliance is in your best interest. Certain LMS features will support that goal and make your job easier. Here are five areas to focus on:

1. Personal Data Encryption

You must ensure that all personal data is fully encrypted. Most modern onboarding LMSs already have advanced encryption measures in place. However, you should always verify protocols with your vendor. You might also consider incorporating de-identification measures into your data management policies to safeguard personal information in the event of a breach. The GDPR goes further, allowing the pseudonymization of personal data for even greater anonymity.

2. Employee Consent

A significant component of the GDPR is guaranteeing individuals the right to manage their own data. Employee training software can facilitate this by displaying a consent form that provides full transparency, including how the company plans to use and how long it will retain personal information. Employees have the right to agree or decline, and employers must keep those consent forms on file in the event of a compliance audit.

3. Data Erasure Protocols

GDPR guidelines specify that companies can only keep personal data as long as is necessary for the purposes for which it was obtained. This means first analyzing the data you already have, as personal data you collected in conjunction with onboarding new hires should not be retained after that training period is over. However, data that is intended solely for archival purposes can remain for a longer duration. Your onboarding software should give you the ability to delete data upon employee request or once a specified data retention period is over.

4. Data Quality Principle Checks

You must also incorporate data quality protocols into employee onboarding software. The GDPR grants employees the ability to update and verify the accuracy of their information at any time. Additionally, your organization must immediately be able to erase or rectify inaccurate data. Your LMS should make data readily available to the relevant parties without compromising confidentiality. You can also take things a step further by regularly evaluating your database for redundancies or inaccuracies.

5. Data/System Backups

Data loss is a notable compliance issue. The GDPR states that organizations must protect personal data against “accidental loss, destruction, or damage.” Your onboarding and training software should be able to back up data to ensure everything is properly retained in the event of an emergency or a catastrophic disaster, such as a flood or power outage. You can add another safeguard by storing information on a secondary server or taking preventative measures to mitigate technical issues that could compromise employee data.

Ultimately, HR professionals and recruiters must ensure any data within their purview is safe; that means also confirming that their LMS security is up to par. This goes beyond the learning platform itself. Your vendor’s data centers should also be secure and have backup servers. After you’ve put in the work to get your HR data protection policy aligned with the GDPR, it’s imperative to have an equally compliant LMS. If your current system doesn’t live up to GDPR standards, it might be time to invest in a platform that places a higher priority on data safety.

Christopher Pappas is the founder of eLearning Industry. Connect with him on Twitter.

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