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General Data Protection Regulation: The Implications of Working from Home amid this Coronavirus Pandemic

April 20, 2020

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Working remotely has become more important than ever in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and It seems the days of 9–5 office hours are over now because COVID-19 pandemic has forced the majority of us to work from home. Social distancing has forced many of us to stay at home for the foreseeable future, therefore working remotely is, for many, no longer an option but a necessity.

By now you have already noticed that your new work setup (i.e. working remotely or from home) is raising new challenges, including the way you protect sensitive data / information. Without the security protections that you enjoy while being in the office, such as whitelisted IP addresses, you’ve become vulnerable to an array of security vulnerabilities.

Information security must therefore be a top priority while working from home during this COVID-19 outbreak. The last thing you need while managing so many other problems is to suffer a data breach.

The best place to start when it comes to staying secure is the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

The Regulation helps organizations understand the security risks they face and the measures they should take to mitigate them. By evaluating your compliance posture, you guarantee that you have considered the ways your systems might be compromised.

So what aspects of the GDPR can help you stay safe during this crisis? Let’s take a look.

Data protection

Whenever an organization creates a new way of accessing its data, it puts that data at greater risk. Remote working intensifies that risk as it can be hard for the employee and the organization to know when the data is breached, and it will be even harder to identify how it happened.

Organizations should address vulnerabilities to its networks and the physical storage of data.

Most remote workers will, by necessity, have to move data (or devices that can access that data) into public spaces.

That opens up the risk of data being mislaid. Many breaches have occurred from documents being left on trains, USB sticks falling out of someone’s pocket or laptops being stolen.

Although it’s hard to stop personal data being mislaid (there’s not much an organization can do other than create strict data protection policies), there are ways to mitigate the damage once the data is breached.

Setting strict access rights means that if a criminal gets hold of the employee’s laptop or other work device, they would only be able to view a portion of the company’s personal data.

Organizations also need to protect data that’s held on devices. This can be achieved by encrypting data before it is transferred.

Privacy

To protect work laptops and devices from misuse, organisations may want to implement softwares to track how employees use the device.

There are plenty of software that can log keystrokes or track mouse movements, but this poses a problem. Remote employees may well keep irregular hours and use their devices for both personal and work reasons, so it’s impossible to differentiate between monitoring an employee’s work and private life. Therefore, there’s no way of monitoring devices without violating your employees’ right to privacy.

Conclusion

Disruption caused by COVID-19 is inevitable, and you have enough to worry about without contending with things like cyber security and compliance issues.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals have sensed an opportunity amid the pandemic, and have launched a spate of attacks exploiting people’s fear and uncertainty.

It is therefore more important than ever to make sure your organization is capable of fending off attacks and preventing data breaches.

To avoid data breaches, organizations and individuals working from home must use an encrypted communication service like Signal. Why Signal…? Because it is the most secure, privacy-centric communication app ever made. It is developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos. Signal also supports highly end-to-end encrypted audio & video calls.

Signal is the only major communication app that runs on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, desktop) and steers clear of tracking you and your connections to other people. All the other cross-platform apps track you in one or another way to make money.

Whistleblower and privacy advocate Edward Snowden others use Signal for their day to day communication. This fact alone is enough to make people realize how secure the app is. All communications over Signal are end-to-end encrypted.

Get the Signal Private Messenger now!

#StaySafe #StaySecure #StayPrivateWithSignal

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