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  • By Coinbox Limited
  • April 12, 2024

Human resources was at some point simply considered to be all about paperwork and policies management. But that is fast evolving with the trends of work place practices like hybrid work and talent management. The role is quickly being redefined by the many technological advancements like Artificial intelligence (#AI), 5G, increased cross cultural and inter-country jobs. The Human capital or human resource personnel has to continuously be abreast of these and many other trends to keep their jobs and keep their organisations alive.

The interesting twist is that most jobs of the future will be taken over by AI, jobs that will still be in existence (though seriously redefined) will be relational jobs like HR. The future I am referring to here is like within the next 18 months and further.

Talent management, performance management, training (L & D), job sourcing and general Human Resource practices are now globalized or glocalized and the HR manager cannot succeed without being abreast of these trends. HR managers are already now having board positions. For the HR executive to remain relevant and deliver value continuously on the job, they need to develop new skills beyond basic HR practices. Some of these key skills are as listed below.

–          Business acumen: know your organisation, mission, industry, numbers, strategy, indices, etc.

–          Analytical skills. Be happy with numbers, and volumes of information and easily make valuable meaning of them.

–          Strategic thinking: know not just the reason, but the reason behind the reason

–          Change management: be the champion of transformation and innovation

–          Leadership, influence and relationship management skills

–          Financial acumen: be interested in and understand the organisations books like the cashflow and its effective management.

Human resource is fast evolving, spanning across several scopes and borders and with the fast changing world of technology there is a need for HR Executives to embrace cybersecurity and information security of their employees, organisation, and their vendors/contractors.

Cybersecurity and its breaches are growing trends and will not be reducing anytime soon. Such breaches can ground whole governments and large (or small) business corporations. The entire gamut of tools & technologies used to secure systems and organisations (even governments) against such breaches (or attacks) is referred to as Cybersecurity. The people involved in implementing and engaging these systems are not left out in the cybersecurity system. According to #dr.davidisiavwe, President, Information Security Society for Africa-Nigeria (ISSAN), in a seminar on “Unleashing Cybersecurity Excellence: Bridging the technical realm with HR insights, organized by Coinbox Limited, everyone is involved in it and it is constantly and fast evolving. He said that Cybersecurity involves the Availability, Integrity, and Confidentiality (CIA) of the organisations information system.

According to him, Cybersecurity breaches/attacks includes

–          Phishing

–          Smishing

–          Vishing

–          Social engineering

–          Digital kidnapping

–          DOS & DDOS attacks

–          Business email attacks

–          Whaling attacks and so much more.

Enumerated below are some brief reasons why HR executives should embrace Cybersecurity:


Data Protection and Privacy Compliance:

HR officers and departments handle a vast amount of sensitive and confidential data, including employee personal information, payroll details, and health records. Embracing a cybersecurity culture ensures that this data is adequately protected, reducing the risk of data breaches and non-compliance with data protection regulations like the Nigeria Data Protection regulation – NDPR, GDPR, CCPA, or industry-specific standards.


Risk Mitigation:

Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, and HR departments can be a prime target for cyberattacks. HR executives need to understand these risks and actively work to mitigate them. Embracing a cybersecurity culture allows them to recognize potential threats and take preventive measures.


Employee Enlightenment:

HR is responsible for employee onboarding and training. By embracing cybersecurity, HR executives can ensure that all employees are educated about cybersecurity best practices, making the entire organization more resilient against cyber threats. This proactive approach can help reduce the likelihood of employees falling victim to phishing attacks, Smishing attacks or other social engineering tactics.


Incident reporting:

In the event of a cybersecurity incident, HR executives need to be prepared to respond effectively. Embracing a cybersecurity culture ensures that HR is not caught off guard and can coordinate the necessary actions, such as communicating with affected parties, following incident response protocols, and minimizing the impact on the organization’s reputation.


Third party management:

Vendors are stakeholders in an organisation, their activities, be it positive or negative, directly or indirectly affects an organisation. When an organisation considers itself fortified and a hacker cannot get into the organization’s space directly, the attacker will then try third parties like vendors. Many HR functions involve interactions with external vendors and third-party service providers. Embracing cybersecurity means ensuring that these entities meet cybersecurity standards set by the organisation, safeguarding the organization from supply chain attacks or data breaches through third-party relationships. The HR is expected to setup templates and minimum standards for security protocols the vendors are supposed to have and meet before being onboarded. Existing vendors are guided to ensure quick compliance. This process should be carried out for all third party partners, stakeholders, etc. like software companies, outsourced services, recruiters, etc.


Crisis Management and Communication:

In the aftermath of a cybersecurity breach, it is crucial to communicate the situation and disaster recovery protocols effectively. The HR executive often plays a vital role in managing crisis communication, both internally and externally. A good Understanding cybersecurity helps HR teams communicate the severity of the situation, the steps being taken to curb its occurrence, and the potential impact on the system, employees and stakeholders.


Cultural Alignment:

Cybersecurity is not just an ICT issue; it’s a business-wide concern. By embracing a culture of cybersecurity awareness and readiness, the HR manager/executive helps align the entire organization with the understanding that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and not just that of the IT department.


Business Continuity:

Business is a continuum, Cyberattacks will disrupt normal business operations. The HR executive need to work with other departments to ensure that there are plans in place to maintain essential HR and business  functions during and after a cyber incident. This contributes to business continuity and resilience. It is high time a disaster recovery plan is setup for cybersecurity breaches/attacks/incidents. This plan must be reviewed on a regular basis as the cyber world is revolving very fast daily.


Recruitment and Talent Acquisition:

These roles are already being taken over by the AI systems. Companies not using the AI systems to perform this roles are catching up soon. As the competition for cybersecurity talent intensifies, HR executives must understand the specific skills, personalities, and qualifications required for cybersecurity roles. Embracing a cybersecurity culture helps HR departments attract and retain cybersecurity staff directly or indirectly, which is crucial for keeping the organisation safe.


How can HR engage with the organisation to ensure Cybersecurity?

According to #joelomeike, the ‘HR godfather’, in a seminar on Unleashing Cybersecurity Excellence: Bridging the technical realm with HR insights, organized by Coinbox Limited, the following steps should be carried out

–          Create a human firewall. Educate the team on basic table top practices and mitigants like social engineering, password/PIN security, multifactor authentications, etc.

–          Foster a culture of cybersecurity

–          Ensure talent acquisition & cybersecurity skills are in place. Setup a mandatory cybersecurity skills assessment and development program

–          Build a cybersecurity ready team

–          Data privacy and regulations compliance

–          Incident response, planning & training

–          Enhance data protection policies: go beyond the none disclosure agreements, efficient data classification, effective data encryption

–          Profile & assess cybersecurity compliance of 3rd parties like vendors & contractors.


In summary, HR executives need to embrace a cybersecurity culture because it is integral to protecting sensitive data, mitigating risks, and ensuring the organization’s overall security and existence. Cybersecurity is no longer solely the responsibility of the ICT department; it’s a shared responsibility that requires active involvement from all departments and the organisation as a whole, with HR playing a central role in promoting awareness and best cybersecurity practices.

For more information or support concerning Cybersecurity awareness, culture, setup, review or consultancy, contact us at Coinbox Limited. info@coinboxlimited.com.ng or coinboxlimited@gmail.com (+2349093929847).

We also have a cybersecurity enlightenment webinar series ongoing. First one was on the 21st of September, 2023. Next one is in November, 2023. Contact us if interested.


Coinbox Limited

A Management Consultancy, SME Business Development & Support Company, And HR Consultancy.

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