Remote workers risk data breaches

More than half of UK businesses now offer employees the option to work remotely to improve work-life balance. However, with more people working on trains, cafés and other public spaces, cybersecurity has become more of a problem for employers.

For instance, the bigger the number of people working from public spaces, the more significant the risk from fraud, misappropriation of data and privacy breaches. With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018, it is something employees and employers must consider.

With approximately 1.5 million remote-workers in the UK, it is up to businesses to review client privacy procedures and ensure employees are up-to-speed with new data protection rules. Failure to do so could lead to client confidentiality breaches, which could be costly when the new GDPR comes into effect next year.

Darryl Brunt, UK Sales and Marketing Director at Fellowes commented: “Companies are increasingly encouraging remote-working, which is great for employee flexibility, but could be extremely costly when it comes to security breaches. Unless remote workers are properly educated and have the right equipment like shredders they could end up costing their employers millions in fines for failing to protect personal data.

Fellowes, office product supply specialists for 100 years, has put together some tips on how remote workers can protect confidential data whilst working on the go.

Five tips on protecting private data outside the office

1. Keep devices in sight at all times:

Never leave your laptop, tablet or mobile device unattended when working in coffee shops, restaurants or other public spaces. Make sure that all of your devices are password protected and locked when not in use.

2. Protect your screen:

To keep data safe from shoulder surfing use a blackout privacy filterwhen working in public environments. The handy screen means your laptop screen will only be visible head on.

3. Pick up your papers:

Remember to check for any documents you might have left behind after working in public places. Failure to do so could result in serious security breaches such a recent case in Leicester recently when private child protection documents were found blowing away in the street.

4. Keep sensitive documents hidden:

Make sure any sensitive documents are kept in a folder or storage box to keep information secure. A recent Fellowes survey revealed that 44% of UK office workers had viewed confidential documents in their workplace.

5. Always shred:

Anything you no longer need should be destroyed using a paper shredder. Never throw away confidential information without shredding first or it could fall into the wrong hands. A recent example is when confidential crime victims’ details were found in Manchester.

With 54% of businesses offering remote working to employees, data breaches are more likely to happen. By following the simple tips listed above, employees can reduce that risk significantly. However, it is also important for employers to take responsibility and ensure all workers are up to speed with data protection policies to ensure they are robust enough to withstand new GDPR rules.

Related: 10 security tips for remote and mobile working

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