In the days of COVID-19 and social distancing, many businesses have allowed their employees to work from home. This is a great way to keep your business going while protecting yourself, your employees and the community.
However, if work-from-home is a new concept for your business, it can also be a significant danger to the sensitive information you hold. Each remote employee now presents numerous opportunities for breaches. Accounts and spreadsheets that employees once accessed only through your office’s secure internet connection are now accessed through numerous wireless connections. Documents that never left the office, may now be on any employee’s kitchen table.
Unwanted disclosures of sensitive information might not just hurt your bottom line but also lead to legal consequences.
As your employees distance themselves in their homes, here are three things you can do to protect your business:
1. Protect Your Electronically-Stored Data.
Hackers and other ill-intentioned individuals are no doubt taking advantage of increased use of technology for business communications. Just the other day, someone hacked into a Zoom meeting and began streaming obscene content.
Take steps to ensure that your electronically stored information is protected. Require your employees to use secure internet connections as opposed to public wifi or other unsecured connections. Those with no access to secured wifi can use VPNs or even cellphone hotspots. Further, be sure that your data is protected with unique passwords that are different across different platforms and use multi-step authentication.
2. Protect Your Physically-Stored Data.
With social distancing, it is unlikely that your physical data is getting much exposure. However, you do not want to underestimate your assistant’s roommate who may find it entertaining to post pictures of your confidential documents online. Set requirements for your employees for how physical documents can be stored off-site. Require that documents be stored out of plain sight and that employees work in secluded areas of their homes. Also, be cautious as to where calls and teleconferences are held. You do not want any opportunistic eavesdropping.
3. Keep Your Employees Accountable.
You want to be sure your employees understand the rules and boundaries of work-from-home. Establish work-from-home policies that are clearly stated. Be sure all your employees understand the policies and do not be afraid to quiz them on how they are going about implementing the policies.
In todays’ world, data can be extremely valuable. Just look at Google! For obvious reasons, you do not want your competition getting hold of your proprietary information. With respect to breaches of customer data, hackers and the alike may be the cause of the breach. However, that does not mean that your business will not take the fall for failing to take protective measures. The sooner that you can implement data-protection policies for your work-from-home employees, the sooner you minimize exposure and potential liability. You owe it to your business and your customers!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the topic of this blog further, please feel free to email Aleksandra E. Anderson at email@example.com or visit www.andersonlegalnc.com.
*This blog post does not constitute legal advice. Reading or in any way accessing this blog post does not form a client-attorney relationship between you and Anderson Legal, PLLC or any of its attorney(s).
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