Personal Background Checks and How To Best Manage Personal Data

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Background checks. Governments, corporations, healthcare organizations and financial institutions require them as part of their hiring process. They help identify individuals who have criminal backgrounds and therefore are ineligible for employment. Background checks help organizations reduce their risk, comply with legal requirements, ensure public safety and provide customer assurance.

The Background Check Process: Revealing Criminal Backgrounds Efficiently

To check if someone has a criminal past that they are trying to hide requires the matching of fingerprints. Depending on the application process of the country, fingerprints may be collected along with biographic information, all of which are submitted to the appropriate authority for check. The results of the background check are then returned showing whether the applicant has a criminal background or not. The information collected can be considered PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and must be treated with care. This information must be protected and only made available to individuals who are required to have access.

Implementing Background Checks: Keeping Personal Data Safe

Today, background checks are done for the most part in an electronic way. Software to perform background checks, along with fingerprint capture devices, are installed on office computers. Biographical data is typed into data fields, and fingerprints are collected. The data and results are then transmitted over a network. Organizations performing these services (whether in-house or outsourced) retain records of each of these transactions that contain the PII of the individuals. Many organizations have records spread across office locations, potentially jeopardizing the control needed to ensure proper protection of PII data.

Data Retention Policies: Knowing Where the Data Is, Is Crucial

Most organizations have data retention rules either dictated by corporate governance policies or regulations (such as GDPR). Having knowledge of the existence of potential PII data and its whereabouts is a critical function for organizations in order to implement required rules. Not knowing where data is located or being able to take appropriate action leaves organizations vulnerable to legal action. Being able to efficiently and effectively manage background check data has become an increasing concern for organizations.

Centralizing Background Checks: Collecting Data in a Centralized Location

An alternative method that provides greater control over the background check process and the PII being collected is to centralize collection in a single place. Server-based software solutions create a centralized collection and storage of background check data. The biographic information, along with the fingerprint data, is collected in a local office; but rather than being stored on the local office computer, it is transmitted and stored in a secure IT-administered and approved server with strict access on who in the organization has access to the data.

This means that organizations can now:

  1. Control and manage data at a single location.
  2. Effectively know what data they have.
  3. Act upon the rules in place to manage their background check PII data.

The Background Check Lifecycle: Long-Term Strategy of Data Management Is Required

Background check data isn’t just a one-time consideration in your hiring process. It’s data that must be maintained and managed through the employee lifecycle. Rules, regulations and policies dictate how this data can be used, handled and when it must be destroyed. Using the right solution to help you manage the lifecycle will ensure your long-term success.

Read more about how to secure personal data such as biometrics here.

Brian DeGonia is an expert when it comes to biometric software, with more than 10 years of experience in the biometrics industry. He leads all biometric software product development for customers from civil government, law enforcement and the military around the world. His passion for building great user experiences enables him to exceed customer expectations when developing new products. Before becoming a member of the HID family, Brian worked for Crossmatch, a world-leading company in biometrics that HID Global acquired in 2018.