HR tech number of the week: Re-evaluating the HR cloud

In the wake of recent news that a major human resources solution provider was the victim of a serious and sustained ransomware attack last December, HR leaders and the technologists who serve them appear to be concerned.

Market research firm PwC’s newly released PwC HR Tech Survey 2022 found that 21% of HR leaders cited concerns about the security of critical HR data stored on the cloud as a top technology challenge. Likewise, 36% say they are somewhat or very likely to switch HR cloud vendors at the end of their subscription term.

What does this mean for HR leaders?

According to Dan Staley, HR technology and transformation partner for PwC, although cloud technology is largely delivering on its value promises, more than one-third of respondents have decided to “hit the reset button.”

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PwC’s report found that HR leaders do not want to abandon cloud technology. Instead, the opposite is true, says Staley. “Companies must dedicate the necessary time, focus and technology to secure that data when they move to a cloud HR application,” he says.

PwC also noticed organizations increasing their preparedness against both internal and external threats. HR leaders are collaborating with their IT and Information Security colleagues to deploy various preventive protection technologies around their cloud platform in recognition of increasing cyber threats, says Staley.

Dan Staley of PwC

“Organizations should mask sensitive data that sits in lower nonproduction environments as an additional control. Business continuity plans are being recast to account for and plan for potential future breaches,” he says.

HR leaders who are considering new cloud vendors typically fall into two groups, Staley says, those with unavoidable reasons and those with avoidable reasons.

Staley believes that HR leaders fall into the “unavoidable” category when workforce requirements have significantly changed (either via substantial growth or expansion into new business areas) or the leaders wish to consolidate their HRIS application portfolio. They appear to be reacting to vendors discontinuing older platforms or they want to align with the software used by other departments inside the organization, he says.

HR leaders who fall into the avoidable category often include those who failed to invest enough time initially evaluating and selecting the software, which resulted in a poor fit for the organization. “Other avoidable reasons also include hitting the reset button,” he says, “and moving to a new software platform to compensate for a poor implementation.”

Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus is the former HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children.