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An emerging trend: privacy as an employee benefit

January 3, 2023
Dimitri Shelest

This article was originally published by Forbes Tech Council

Two factors have coalesced to make privacy a hot commodity for employees. 

First, the rapid transition to remote work has accelerated data privacy and security challenges, ushering in swift digital transformation and expanding the potential threat landscape for companies and their employees. 

Today, more than one-third of US adults report being online “almost constantly,” where they share personal information, including their work routines, at a disturbing rate. However innocuous these postings may seem, they’re likely to contain bits of information that are valuable to threat actors who hunt personal information online and leverage it to perpetuate scams or fraud. 

When coupled with readily-available details distributed by people search websites, which aggregate people’s personally identifiable information (PII), the data collected can put companies and their employees at risk, leaving both vulnerable to security breaches.

In response, more and more companies include privacy solutions alongside other benefits to support people and protect company assets in an increasingly decentralized and digital-first environment. 

Why privacy protection is a must-have employee benefit

According to one survey, 72 percent of Americans are “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about online privacy. They are worried about the implications of expansive data collection, haphazard data storage, or unauthorized transmission. However, often they don’t take any significant action to curtail these practices. 

Many feel powerless to control their personal information online. A Pew Research Center analysis found that 81 percent of people feel they have little or no control over the data collected and distributed about them. 

Privacy protection solutions give people more control over their personal information, empowering them to regain their privacy online. At a time when employees are leaving their jobs at a historic rate, privacy protection benefits can be a key differentiator, allowing companies to attract and retain top talent. 

At the same time, enhancing employee privacy protection is critical for keeping companies cyber-secure. 

The costs and consequences of a data breach or cybersecurity incident are increasingly disruptive, prompting businesses to invest in solutions that keep data and IT infrastructure safe. According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, 82 percent of data breaches involve a human element, including increasingly convincing social attacks. 

For instance, threat actors send more than three billion phishing emails every day, and personal information online makes it easier to craft personalized, convincing messages that elicit engagement and account compromise. With 91 percent of cyber attacks starting with a phishing scam, it’s evident that protecting employee privacy and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand. 

Taken together, privacy protection is more than just a perk. It’s an important way to attract and retain employees, and safeguard IT infrastructure. 

Employees vote for privacy

Employees, too, want to protect themselves and their families from potential threats associated with personal information exposed online. In 2022, these concerns are especially pertinent because: 

These risks are amplified for people at the front line in public-facing roles, including medical professionals, administrators, public sector employees, customer service and sales reps, legal entities, company executives, and more. 

These risks are amplified for people at the front line in public-facing roles, including medical professionals, administrators, public sector employees, customer service and sales reps, legal entities, company executives, and more. 

Privacy protection provides professionals and their families peace of mind, which is why many are voting “yes” to these safeguards at work. According to a recent Forrester report, “more than half wish they had more privacy protections in the workplace, and about the same number take active measures to limit the amount of personal data they share with their employers.”

Simply put, whether they are enhancing their physical safety or safeguarding their digital identities, employees want more privacy, placing the impetus on companies to help provide those solutions. 

Privacy is a collective effort

Privacy protection is a valuable addition to an employee benefits program available to companies. 

Of course, employees have a part to play as well. Privacy solutions work best in conjunction with good online habits, proactively managing social media accounts, avoiding oversharing, and keeping account information protected, that every individual can develop in today’s digital world.

In 2022 and beyond, digital and real-world privacy is imperative. It takes effort to achieve, and coupled with a sustainable approach offered by modern technological solutions, better outcomes are secured that help companies and their employees thrive. 

Dimitri Shelest Dimitri Shelest Founder and CEO at OneRep

Dimitri is a tech entrepreneur and OneRep CEO. He is an avid proponent of privacy regulation framework and likes to explore cybersecurity and privacy issues as a writer and reader on various platforms.

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