Due to the dramatic increase in ICE worksite enforcement actions in 2009, employers are taking steps ensure their I-9 compliance, and utilizing such tools as internal audits, training, and implementation of I-9 software. I-9 software can often help to minimize the disorganization and clerical errors that can result in an absolute nightmare upon receipt of an ICE inspection notice. In response to growing employers’ compliance efforts, software companies are rushing “feature-rich” I-9 software packages to market. And while employers tend to scrutinize the user features available when selecting I-9 software, many are overlooking a vital feature – data security.
Once I-9 software has been implemented by your company, proper data security is required to protect your employees’ stored personal data. Minnesota state agencies using a Texas-based I-9 software provider with inadequate data security recently discovered that the personal data of nearly 500 employees may have been made accessible through the software provider’s web site, displaying employee names, dates of birth, hire dates, and Social Security numbers. This is a wake-up call to many employers that data security is a feature that cannot be overlooked when selecting I-9 software.
Employers should always ask their software provider to outline the software’s data security features. Compare them to features offered by other providers. Generally, you want to ensure that all user accounts are properly password protected, a sophisticated encryption method is used to encrypt the data, and if the data is stored remotely by the software provider, measures are taken to ensure that data is protected from external hackers and that the data is properly isolated to ensure that it is not erroneously accessed by another user.
I-9 software is an excellent tool to use in the quest for I-9 compliance, and a fear of a potential data compromise should not prevent you from implementation. Most software packages have adequate data security features, and a few have substantial ones. However, employers should be aware of the importance of data security when shopping for an I-9 software package, and should move data security to the top of their list of questions for their potential providers.