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Trust and Influence in The Digital Age: Privacy, Data Protection, Fake News – What Is HR’s Role?

A digital age enabling businesses to reinvent how they operate, enhance their product or service to satisfy the customers’ wants, improve employee experiences, and so on, has been brought about by the rapid breakthroughs in communication and technology. The abundance of data is one of the key elements enabling firms to use analytics and obtain insightful, useful information.

Clear protocols should protect sensitive data because the company’s operations quickly accumulate more information about its customers and employees. The number of duties that HR professionals are responsible for is expanding, and they now need to take particular activities to maintain things secure. It is the responsibility of HR to keep the company’s data and privacy protected.

This article will show how the digital age affects our data privacy and HR’s role and responsibilities.

Content list


Facts and Figures

  • According to predictions, each person on the planet will produce almost 1.7 MB of data each second by 2020.
  • In the MEA region, well-known oil and gas companies like Saudi Aramco of Saudi Arabia and RasGas of Qatar, among others, faced significant data breaches affecting a substantial portion of their computer networks. The past decade alone has seen significant data breaches and cyber-attacks on big players such as Facebook, Yahoo, Exactis, eBay, Equifax, etc.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation is the primary piece of online privacy regulation in the European Union. The mandate affects businesses and people throughout the EU as well as international organizations with a customer or user base in the EU. It also applies to organizations in all member states.

Significance of Data Protection

We leave everything in our online and digital journey, including personal information, financial information, medical information, and even feelings and opinions. Businesses may learn much from following people’s digital footprints since it provides rich data and insights. We should be aware of our data protection.

Data protection helps us to keep our data and personal information safe. Personal data is kept safe and secure thanks to data protection. It safeguards sensitive data, including financial accounts and corporate activities. Consumers are also more likely to make online purchases. As a result, it boosts both offline and online businesses’ revenue. It improves the quality of data during transactions and the saved data. It is independent of any specific technology. It applies to everyone.  The risk of financial loss is decreased. It stops software, project/product papers, and corporate recipes from being stolen by rival businesses.

Why is Data Protection Important?

  • Due to data leaks, companies can suffer significant financial losses; they also lose customers and decline their brand’s image, value, loyalty, and reputation. 
  • These large-scale hacks indicate the need for improved cybersecurity procedures and an influential organizational culture that values cybersecurity.
  • Data protection is important because it shields an organization’s information against fraud, hacking, phishing, and identity theft.
  •  Any firm that wants to operate efficiently must create a data protection plan to secure the security of its information. 
  • The significance of data protection grows along with the amount of data being created and stored. 
  • Cyberattacks and data breaches can have catastrophic consequences. Organizations must proactively safeguard their data and frequently upgrade their security protocols.

How to Trust and Influence in The Digital Age as an HR?

You could ask what HR’s responsibility for data security, cybersecurity, or even fake news and internet frauds. Every employee and every division of the company share responsibility for it. Therefore, HR is in a great position to support the organization in strengthening a culture of trust, honesty, safety, security, and privacy within and with all of its stakeholders. HR works closely with employees across the entire organization. 

Let’s examine the potential contribution that HR can make to each of these problems or regions.

1. Cybersecurity 

The most recent and efficient firewalls and security architecture can be put in place by IT and cybersecurity departments, but these steps alone won’t provide robust protection. The workers are essential to the process. Employees have a clear role in each of them, from choosing a secure password and updating it frequently to not clicking on spam or malicious links, not using unapproved apps (personal or professional), and reporting faults and anomalies. They must be aware of, adhere to, and consider the requirements of a robust cybersecurity culture. They must receive consistent and efficient training to do this. The HR department must combine these training and awareness sessions with job- and domain-based instruction. They can use gamification, activity-based workshops, and other techniques to teach employees the dos and don’ts of cybersecurity.

The HR department must collaborate closely with the IT and security teams to determine what kind of training is necessary and how frequently it should be provided based on these other teams’ risk assessments.

2. Privacy and Data Protection

If the objective of the use changes, the HR/business must obtain new authorization by the privacy and data protection rules. These also firmly require companies to notify affected employees and supervisory authorities of any data breaches or assaults that compromise their personal information. Records of consent must be gathered and kept by the HR division. As these directly impact the data-driven or data-enabled HR strategy and procedures, they must put safeguards in place to ensure that employee data is deleted if consent is withdrawn.

The company’s commitment to upholding employees’ right to privacy, maintaining transparency in how their data is used, and robust data protection measures have become crucial components of employee experience, trust, and commitment to work in light of the recent rise in data breaches, privacy invasions, etc. HR departments must take GDPR and similar legislation seriously and implement them to offer a smooth and improved employee experience.

3. Fake news, Online Scams, Spoofing and Other Forms of Trickery

Regardless of whether or not your company relies on online research, news, and information on trends to do business or make critical business decisions, you must be concerned about the false statement and stop these concerns. It’s harmful to publish information or content based on incorrect information, just as it’s harmful to employees to base choices on false information (that ultimately affects them professionally). For instance, if a worker compromises medical decisions based on incorrect information, it will negatively impact productivity.

Employees will continue to engage in behaviors that raise the company’s cybersecurity risks if they are unaware of the consequences of clicking on spammy clickbait, spoofing to extract data, online frauds, and other sorts of trickery. For their protection and safety, as well as the firm’s security, employees must always be taught best practices and how to prevent such online deceit effectively. The same is something that the HR division must be in charge of. 

Should You Adopt Data Protection?

Customers are growing more concerned about how their data is utilized due to the rising frequency of data breaches. Businesses may profit from this trend by addressing user privacy and data protection as product features. Data privacy has been perceived as a burden with high costs and few apparent benefits. This has historically been made worse by efforts to amass as much user data as possible to increase chances of monetizing the data, such as through targeted advertising. This essay aims to inform businesses about the advantages of data protection.

We can understand the importance of data protection from the above information. We have seen some significant benefits of data protection in the above points but also some drawbacks.

Consumers lose confidence as a result of subpar data protection practices or procedures. Furthermore, strict data protection hurts the digital economy. So, the best possible data protection should be used. On data protection, there is no solitary international accord. Technology and business practices advancements present challenges to and influence data protection. Data protection and online behaviors are constantly changing concerning one another. The upkeep of data protection standards is expensive and time-consuming. Businesses must provide training programs for their staff members and other stakeholders. To protect against unauthorized or illegal processing of personal data, it is crucial to implement the proper technical and organizational safeguards. It’s pretty challenging to control this.


Through this article, we can understand the importance of data protection. Also, we have seen how fake news can affect an organization. It’s no secret that HR professionals are charged with various significant duties. They are responsible for handling payroll, administering disciplinary and grievance processes, and actively managing and supervising the business’ recruitment and resourcing strategy. To secure company and employee data from various potential risks, from company malfeasance to cybersecurity breaches, is one of their most crucial responsibilities, though. If they don’t, an identity theft attorney might have a lot of cleanups to do.

HR is often a domain that generates, collects, and keeps copious data about past and present employees and applicants. HR plays a crucial role in privacy, data protection, and security. HR departments from all walks of life are using HR analytics to gain insights that will improve employee experience and engagement. They are adopting new technologies and utilizing the most up-to-date tools to gather, compile, store, and use this data, among other things.


1. What are the core principles of data protection?

Ans. Following are the leading eight core principles of data protection – 

  • Openness: Businesses must be upfront about how they handle personal data. 
  • Limitations on collection: Personal data must only be collected in a restricted, fair, and legitimate manner, frequently with knowledge and consent. 
  • Specification of purpose: At the time of collection, the purpose of both the collection and the disclosure must be stated. 
  • Use or disclosure must be restricted to those reasons or those closely linked to those purposes. 
  • Security: Appropriate security measures must be in place for personal data. 
  • Data quality: Personal information needs to be current, accurate, and relevant. 
  • Access and rectification: Data subjects must be granted the right to view and update their personal information. 
  • Accountability: Data controllers are in charge of ensuring that the data protection principles are followed.

2. What are the best data protection practices?

Ans. Following are some of the best data protection practices which can be used to keep your data safe.

  • A combination of tools and procedures used to protect data from theft, loss, abuse, erasure, or other improper or unlawful kinds of contact is known as data loss prevention (DLP). 
  • Firewalls: tools for tracking and filtering network traffic to guarantee that only authorized users can access or move data 
  • The data content is changed through encryption using an algorithm, which can only be undone with the proper encryption password or key. 
  • Encryption protects data even if it is stolen since it cannot be read. 
  • Erasing data that is no longer required or pertinent. The GDPR also makes this mandatory.
  • Building resiliency mechanisms into an organization’s software and infrastructure to protect security in natural catastrophes or power outages is known as data resiliency. 
  • Data backup is a strategy for safely backing up data during a breakdown or breach. Such a backup strategy could involve a different physical disk or the cloud.

3. What is GDPR?

Ans. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was the EU’s new data privacy regulation on May 25, 2018. Because employees generate a large amount of personal data that HR must collect, manage and store, the GDPR directly affects how HR does its job. A simple Excel file containing contact information constitutes personal data and is subject to GDPR requirements.

Through various data privacy and security regulations, the GDPR attempts to protect the personal data of EU citizens. It applies to all employers who handle and store personal data on workers who live in the EU. Though a business has workers or independent contractors living in the European Economic Area, even if its headquarters are not in Europe, it must comply with GDPR (they do not have to be citizens). Any third-party contractors hired to handle employee personal data must abide by the rules.

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