Data Breach

Written By ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn

Having information security safeguards in place to protect against unauthorized users and unwanted intrusions caused by data breaches to avoid identity theft and fraud is crucial for background screening companies accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

The NAPBS, a non-profit trade association representing the background screening industry founded in 2003, offers Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – the official name for background screening companies – a way to be accredited through its Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP).

CRAs accredited by the BSAAP are committed to uphold and deliver the highest level of industry standards for six critical areas that include “Information Security,” “Legal and Compliance,” “Client Education,” “Researcher and Data Standards,” “Verification Services Standards,” and “Business Practices.”

“Information Security” is the first of six areas covered by the BSAAP standard – which was updated in 2018 – and includes 12 clauses that CRAs must follow in order to become accredited by the NAPBS. There are 68 clauses in the entire BSAAP standard. Here are the clauses for “Information Security”:

  • 1.1 Information Security Certification – Wherever Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is held, whether at CRA, CRA’s data center (whether internal or hosted), and/or CRA’s platform provider (whether internal or hosted) such entity must hold a current (current as defined by the certifying body) information security certification and/or provide written evidence of completing an information security audit for which no critical, high-risk, or severe security vulnerabilities remain uncured. The source of such certification and/or written evidence must be a qualified security assessor.
  • 1.2 Information Security Policy – CRA must have and follow a written information security policy which, at a minimum, complies with applicable law and regulation. CRA must designate one or more individuals responsible for implementing, managing and enforcing the information security policy (individual(s) may be internal or contracted).
  • 1.3 Data Security – CRA must have and follow procedures to protect consumer information under the control of the CRA from internal and external unauthorized access. These procedures must include specifications for the securing of information when electronically transmitted, as well as information in both hard copy and electronic form including information stored on portable and/or removable electronic devices. At a minimum, procedures must meet all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • 1.4 Intrusion and Data Security – CRA must have and follow procedures to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to an information system intrusion, including consumer notification and other breach notifications where mandated. At a minimum, procedures must meet all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • 1.5 Storage and Backup of Data – CRA must have and follow procedures to ensure data is backed up and stored in an encrypted or otherwise protected manner. At a minimum, procedures must meet all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • 1.6 Access Protocol – CRA must have and follow procedures requiring use of secure access protocols for CRA workers, authorized client users, and any other authorized users accessing Consumer Information. At a minimum, procedures must meet all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • 1.7 Electronic Access Control – CRA must have and follow procedures to control access to all electronic information systems and electronic media that contain consumer information. CRA must have procedures in place to administer access rights. CRA workers and authorized client users must only be given the access necessary to perform their required functions. Access rights must be updated based on personnel or system changes.
  • 1.8 Physical Security – CRA must have and follow procedures to control physical access to all areas of CRA facilities, including data storage facilities that contain consumer information.
  • 1.9 Consumer Information Privacy Policy – CRA must have and follow a Consumer Information Privacy Policy detailing the purpose of the collection of consumer information, the intended use, and how the information will be shared, stored and destroyed. The CRA must post this policy on its website, if it has one. CRA must have and follow procedure to make said policy available to clients and/or consumers upon request and in at least one other format.
  • 1.10 Unauthorized Browsing – CRA must have and follow a policy that prohibits CRA workers from searching files and databases unless they have a bona fide business necessity.
  • 1.11 Record Destruction – When records containing consumer information are to be destroyed or disposed of, CRA must have and follow a policy meeting all applicable legal and regulatory requirements and ensure that all such records and data are destroyed and unrecoverable.
  • 1.12 Sensitive Data Masking – CRA must have and follow a procedure to suppress or truncate Social Security Numbers and other sensitive data elements as required by law. If end user requires full SSN or other sensitive data elements, CRA must obtain certification from end user that end user will comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements in regard to use, safeguarding, and destruction of such information.

To become accredited by the NAPBS, CRAs must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the accreditation standard as prepared by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). Compliance is demonstrated through rigorous audits completed by an independent third-party auditor.

CRAs must document each of their policies and processes as required in each of the areas within the standard and demonstrate visible compliance with their policies to the auditor. Accreditation lasts for a period of five years, after which time firms are required to recomplete the process to remain accredited.

Founded as a non-profit trade association in 2003, the NAPBS currently represents more than 880 members engaged in background screening across the United States. NAPBS member companies range from Fortune 100 firms to small local businesses. To learn more about the NAPBS, visit www.napbs.com.

In May of 2019, the NAPBS selected Dawn Standerwick, Vice President of Strategic Growth at Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), as the “NAPBS Volunteer of the Month.” Standerwick currently serves as Chair of the Ethics Committee and is active with the Finance and Government Relations Committees.

In October of 2018, Standerwick was recognized as longest serving Board Member in the history of the NAPBS with nine years of service that included four years as a Regular Director and five years serving on the Executive Committee as Secretary, Treasurer, Chair Elect, Chair, and Immediate Past Chair.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a “Founding Member” of the NAPBS and is accredited under the BSAAP. ESR Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen was the Chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS and served as first co-Chair. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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