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Are Your Online Skills Tests Truly Secure?

Creating a quality, comprehensive privacy policy and clearly explaining how data security works are critical when conducting pre-employment skills testing. 

The online testing process starts with a discussion of data security in the form of a privacy policy. Before test-takers answer any questions, they learn what kind of data tests will collect, how that information will be stored, and how it will be used. Once data security has been explained and assured, the tests can proceed.

Even more important than having a privacy policy in place is ensuring the privacy policy does what it promises. If data security can’t be guaranteed for everyone who takes a test, the process is unethical and possibly even illegal.

Data security issues became increasingly important when testing shifted largely from in-person to online during the pandemic. If employers want to continue relying on pre-employment skills testing in the hiring process, they need to get serious about data security.

The Consequences of Insecure Online Skills Tests

In the context of online skills tests, data security takes two forms. The first is the security of any data collected by the testing organization. It must be held in a secure location and used only for authorized purposes.

The second is the integrity of the answers being collected during testing. The testing organization needs to know that the test results are honest and accurate — not the result of manipulation on the part of test-takers.

Hacking and cheating both threaten data security in testing, and issues with either can have wide-ranging consequences. Most immediately, compromised data calls into question the accuracy of test results and any hiring decisions based on those results. For testing to be reliable, it must first be safe.

Data security issues can also lead to lawsuits and regulatory penalties, especially if they become a persistent issue. Either issue can be costly, and cyberattacks have caused companies to close in extreme cases. It only takes one weak spot to enable a massive cyberattack — and that weak spot could be testing.

Confidence in the testing process as a whole can suffer because of insufficient data security in testing. People will avoid employers and tests that have a bad reputation concerning security practices. Consequently, something meant to be a helpful hiring tool can make it harder to attract quality candidates.

Best Practices for Data Security in Testing

To ensure data security in your testing solutions, focus on these four considerations:

  • Require secure browsers — A secure browser prevents test-takers from opening other browser windows while taking online tests. It can also limit opportunities for cheating while keeping tests insulated from other threats inherent to the online ecosystem.
  • Use remote proctors — Remote proctoring can monitor test-takers through webcams, microphones, and screen-sharing to ensure the right person is taking the test the right way. Remote proctors, such as Examity, can also monitor for signs that testing has technical issues caused by hackers.
  • Encrypt data — Encrypting testing data means that the information cannot be read even if someone steals the data. That said, it’s essential to encrypt every piece of data you collect. Equally important is encrypting testing materials in case of theft. Ideally, data will be encrypted both in transit (to and from the person taking the test) and while at rest (when it’s stored in the cloud or on company servers).
  • Work with a vendor — Creating an online skills test is as easy as putting together an online form. But DIY tests raise several data security concerns as well as issues related to testing fairness and validation. The more secure option is always to work with a vendor that can address security and compliance concerns.

Don’t let your pre-employment skills testing become an unexpected liability. Contact TestGenius today to learn more about our data-secure testing solutions.