Understanding Workday Security: Meeting Compliance with Best Practices

  • Integrate it with business performance (50%).
  • Improve policies (49%).

What is Workday Security?

Workday is a cloud-based SaaS platform that delivers a one-window solution to organizations seeking a consolidated solution for their financial management, payroll processing, enterprise planning, and human capital management (HCM) needs.

Workday Security Concepts

Workday Security Configurations

Security configurations define a set of security measures, such as data masking, data encryption, multi-factor authentication, or access controls that allow security experts to mitigate security and privacy risks and reduce vulnerabilities that could lead to cyber threats, such as data theft, corporate espionage, etc.

Workday Security Groups

Security groups configuration defines who requires access to specific business processes and objects. In Workday, groups are usually categorized into role-based, user-based, and standard worker or process-maintained groups. Apart from the delivered groups, administrators can also create custom groups.

Role-based Security

Most organizations create role-based security groups because they are usually associated with a single Organization, such as a Location or Company. In a role-based group, access is assigned to users based on their role or responsibility in the organization, such as HR Partner, Manager, HR Contact.

User-based Security

Unlike role-based groups, the user-based security group is usually unconstrained, and the user can enjoy access to multiple Organizations, such as Company, Location, Cost Center, etc. In this type of group, a role is assigned to the user based on their job responsibilities. An ideal example may include a Security Administrator who may be granted organization-wide access to systems.

Standard Worker/ Process Maintained

Standard worker, sometimes called Process Maintained, is automatically assigned to every worker or employee. It is a constrained group and includes “Employee as Self.”

Workday Security Roles

Security roles are tied to different security groups and the organization. It defines a specific group of people with pre-set security permissions and responsibilities. Security roles determine the information a user in a particular group can view or a task they can approve or execute.

3 Factors That Impede Compliance

As large organizations have to deal with employees’ data at scale, they tend to face three primary hurdles that give rise to security threats, and governance or compliance risks.

Lack of Visibility into Sensitive Data

Section 1798.140(ae), California Privacy Rights Act 2020 defines sensitive personal information as any personal information that reveals the data subjects’

  • Debit or credit card number, security code, access code, or financial account number;
  • Data subject’s precise geolocation;
  • Union membership, religious belief, ethnic or racial origin;
  • Contents of emails and messages;
  • Genetic data.
  • Genetic data.
  • Biometric data.
  • Racial and ethnic origin.
  • Political opinions or political organization membership.
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs or trade union membership.
  • Data concerning an individual’s sex life or sexual orientation.

Security Misconfigurations

Encryption (at rest or in transit) and Single Sign-On (SSO) are effective initial data protection measures but they are not sufficient as data can be accessed by Workday users even if encrypted.. Optimal security measures require a seamless relationship between Workday end-users and an organization’s security team involved in ensuring data protection and compliance. However, this isn’t always the case.

Access Controls

As mentioned earlier, Workday users are more inclined to focus on empowering teams and enabling them to bring more efficiency to their jobs. To ensure productivity and efficiency, employees often get excessive privileges to sensitive and personal data than they require as per their actual job responsibilities. This creates difficulties for security teams to monitor a huge pool of employees and govern their access to unauthorized data.

Workday Security Best Practices

Effective Data Discovery and Mapping

Security and compliance start with knowing which type of data needs to be protected, where it is located in the Workday ecosystem, and whose sensitive and personal data.

Structured Data

Use article intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to increase the accuracy of sensitive data detection across disparate data stores. Moreover, a contextual analysis mechanism should be used to wade through Workday structures fields and columns to skim name heads and detect sensitive data while keeping false-positive to a minimum.

Unstructured Data

Leverage the same AI/ML technology to scan through unstructured data that exists in spreadsheets, quarterly reports, employee files, etc., across Workday systems. Classify sensitive and personal data elements via graph algorithm search to resolve any ambiguous classification. Link the personal and sensitive data to individuals for compliance, such as with the data subject requests.

Data Risk Graph

It is advisable to have a data risk graph that can give the security team a detailed risk-centric view on the personal and sensitive data of employees residing within the Workday environment. The graph or dashboard will allow the team to track any risk changes to the environment and remediate anomalies.

Govern Access to Sensitive Data

Accurate classification of data under correct data categories and data elements allow security teams to design effective security policies against personal and sensitive data. For instance, the system administrator can create an automated data masking policy that masks all the sensitive data defined to limit access to only authorized users.

Protect Sensitive Data From Exposure and Risk

Discover any security misconfiguration, such as storage retention policy, storage bucket encryption, or multi-factor authentication for Workday users. Create auto-remedial policies to fix such security misconfigurations automatically, and then enable policies to send alerts to system owners.

Securiti: Your Workday Security Solution

Securiti delivers end-to-end Workday security, privacy, governance, and compliance solution. Securiti’s partnership with Workday enables organizations to seamlessly integrate their Workday systems to our PrivacyOps platform to get a consolidated view of governance and compliance.

  • Security: Leverage the mapped data to view security posture and create a mesh of security rules.
  • Privacy: Use the classified and cataloged data to fulfill DSR and other regulatory requirements.
  • Compliance: Achieve global regulatory compliance, such as GDPR, HIPAA, CPRA, etc.



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