Is Online Payroll Secure?
Yes, online payroll services are generally very secure. But all systems are different, and it’s up to you to research the security features before making a purchase. Otherwise, you risk compromising sensitive data such as wage reports and employee social security numbers.
Any reputable online payroll vendor has a number of security measures in place. Popular measures include:
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- EV certificates - Many vendors require their customers to obtain what’s known as an Extended Validation (EV) Certificate. This goes beyond the standard encrypting that comes with an SSL certificate. The certificate requires extensive verification of your company’s identity when requesting payroll information.
- Security images - Much like banking institutions, many online payroll providers require approval of a security image you choose before access is allowed. If the image is not correct, you should assume security has been compromised. Do not login to the payroll website and contact your vendor immediately.
- Password-protected pay stubs - A password must be entered before pay stubs can be downloaded, even after you’ve already logged on to the site.
- Distorted images - We’ve all seen (and likely been frustrated by) websites that require the user to retype a distorted image of a word or phrase. But these promote security by making sure the person logging in is actually a person, not an automated computer attacker.
- Account lock-outs - After a certain number of failed login attempts, most online payroll systems will lock out the user until he or she contacts customer service and answers security questions or successfully resets the password.
Don’t just take a vendor’s word for it that the payroll service is secure. Ask about specific security features before switching. Again, most services are highly secure. But you never want to be the company that falls victim to a data breach.