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How to Ensure Your Hybrid Workers Are GDPR Compliant

As more employees opt for hybrid working arrangements, businesses are faced with new challenges There’s been a shift from working at home post-pandemic to hybrid working now, where employees share their working time between the office and on the go or at home. While some workers are keen to migrate back into the office environment, […]

As more employees opt for hybrid working arrangements, businesses are faced with new challenges

There’s been a shift from working at home post-pandemic to hybrid working now, where employees share their working time between the office and on the go or at home. While some workers are keen to migrate back into the office environment, there is still a large proportion that is continuing their working week out of the office. In a recent survey from the Office of National Statistics UK (ONS), 84% of those who had worked from home during the lockdown planned to split their work time between the office and home long-term. Employers are encouraging their employees to return to the office and some of them wish for the same, those who crave a greater sense of belonging or enjoy social interaction may still opt for hybrid working, but just not all the time. Businesses have also learned how to effectively lead and manage their remote teams but this faces offices with new challenges. 

As long as your workers are productive and efficient when participating in hybrid working that’s all good, but what’s not so good is complications that can arise from workers having no secure deskspace to call home. There are certain belongings that need to be left at work, which means having somewhere safe to store them.

As workers split their time between home and office there is a potential that sensitive information can go astray; physical documents need a safe home and one which can be secured effectively. It’s been questioned that hybrid working may have increased the amount of sensitive information being lost or in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules… This raises important questions about confidential paperwork, and how we’re protecting it, in a world where many employees no longer work just in the corporate office.

The implications of a data breach

Managing remote teams and their data security to ensure personal information and the security of documents remains private and secure is critical in avoiding a data breach. A breach not only impacts the financial damages to the business but also it’s damaging to their reputation. Companies are more likely to avoid businesses that have experienced a data breach.

GDPR solutions & products for hybrid workers

There are security solutions and relevant products for hybrid workers to deal with these problems, such as lockable drawers, cupboards, lockers and safes. There are many modern office furniture options available now that look nice as well as functional and are a welcome addition to bring a fresh look to the aesthetics in your workspace. Having a cross-cut shredder or using a confidential shredding service is also important. Using work-provided devices, screen filters, privacy screens (headphones when working in a public space) and encrypted memory sticks is a must. Follow the tips below to stay GDPR compliant…

10 Ways To Stay GDPR Compliant When Working From Home

*Here, Databasix, the data protection experts offer tips and advice on how employers can ensure their staff can protect information that they are responsible for out of the office:

1. Use work-provided devices
Use work-provided devices when possible. It is critical to maintaining as much control as you can over any equipment that could be used that could present a cyber security risk for a business. Avoid storing any work information on personal devices unless authorised to do so.

2. Have screens that nobody else can overlook
Have screens that nobody else can overlook or use privacy screens to prevent information from being seen from anything other than a 60-degree viewing angle from the front. Computer privacy screens are designed to keep private and confidential information just that – private and confidential! Protect information and sensitive data from prying eyes.

3. Encrypt all sensitive data
Encrypt all sensitive data, both in transit and at rest, so that all data is illegible and useless if there is a breach. Businesses can encrypt the hard drives of devices or use third-party software. VPNs should also be used to establish secure connections and communications between employees in their homes and the company’s IT computer network. Multi-factor authentication also works to strengthen the stronghold over remote security.

4. Regularly back up your data
Regularly back up your data, so that in the event of issues with viruses, or any other occurrence where information is deleted, data can be restored to what it was before the event. Protect from even the smallest data breaches. Data loss can happen to anyone. BY backing up data, you can ensure that copies of important documents are stored somewhere else in case something happens to the original copy.

5. Make passwords complex and ensure all documents are password protected
Ensure passwords are complex and all documents are password protected. Protect data from unauthorised access by using passwords to keep content safe and secure. Use a password management tool to store encrypted passwords online.

6. Control access
Control access so that employees only have access to the data they need, nothing more. This is a key element to data security; restrict access to unauthorised staff and ensure authentication as a method of verifying the identity of someone accessing your data.

7. Update your cybersecurity policy
Update your cybersecurity policy to reflect the working-from-home practices and considerations and have a data breach plan in place. Ensure it is regularly updated. Take into account the fact that staff are working from home and the effect that this may have on the IT systems. The plan should outline the processes that staff should take if there is a breach of data, that includes who to contact.

8. Ensure all confidential documentation can be stored securely
Where documents can be printed from employees’ homes, ensure all confidential documentation can be stored securely and shredded when no longer used.

9. Install and update antivirus and malware protection
Make sure all employees install and update antivirus and malware protection on all personal devices being used for work purposes.

10. Train your employees
Train your employees and limit the risk of human error. Use your data protection officer to train your remote staff on the processes they should implement on a daily basis.

Overcome the challenges of hybrid working with the solutions below… 

*10 Ways To Stay GDPR Compliant When Working From Home & Data Protection Infographic by Databasix UK

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