Privacy & Remote Working

Privacy & Remote Working

With technology constantly evolving, and the fact that we live in an era of Connectivity, our lives have changed significantly over the past two decades. From the Smartphone to wearable devices and voice assistants like Alexa, connectivity has made our daily tasks so much more convenient. Connectivity has also impacted our professional lives, in that for some of us we have the freedom to work remotely. The concept of Remote Working is not a good “fit” for all businesses and organisations but for those with robust IT infrastructures it brings many benefits to both Employer and Employee. Cost savings on office space and overheads, employees have greater flexibility and are more productive and remote working often creates better relationships. In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the amount of Businesses and Organisations implementing the policy of remote working and this trend I anticipate will continue to increase particularly with the global impact of Corona Virus on the corporate world.

However, there are also several underlying threats and risks to the practice of remote working. Firstly, how does the Employer retain control of the most valuable asset of the business, client and employee personal information? How does the Employer prevent and restrict the personal data from being exploited or compromised in any way? The introduction of appropriate policies and procedures are critical in advance of the implementation of any Remote Working project and are also mandatory in accordance with EU GDPR legislation. Employers who introduce Remote Working will assume greater Accountability as Data Controllers’ so it is crucial that Risk Assessments are conducted with the objective of identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities and that these risks are minimized. An interesting article was recently published in The Irish Sunday Business Post. A Major Irish Law Firm who has introduced Remote Working for its’ employees’ has banned them from working in rooms or areas where Alexa. Amazon, or similar connected devices are located.

While EU GDPR Accountability continues to be challenging, it is refreshing to read about a Company who clearly appreciates the value of the personal information the business collects and processes. When threats and risks have been identified with regard to the implementation of new projects they have implemented the necessary controls to eliminate those risks to protect the data.

Whilst Connectivity brings many benefits to the Corporate world, equally by introducing the practice of Remote Working the Business Owner is potentially inviting threats of privacy exploitation to the business. Some of those risks might be difficult to identify. Who would have considered Alexa as being such a threat?

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