Confidentiality during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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With many businesses forced to shut up shop and adapt their operations to allow for homeworking, there have been a number of concerns surrounding how businesses might manage sensitive client data and ensure confidentiality is maintained outside of the traditional work environment.

With these concerns in mind and lockdown restrictions still currently in place for an unknown length of time, it’s important for businesses to review the way that sensitive data is being managed within their teams, particularly if some (or all) members of staff are working from home.


Look into the technology you’re using

Whilst the current crisis presents some difficulties, we are fortunate in this digital age to have the technologies readily available which enable us all to stay connected. With so many different communicative online platforms available, it may be that each of your team members has a preference for one platform over another.

It’s important to note that each different messaging, email, video calling and screen sharing platform will have varying security and encryption features in place. As such, it’s safer if all team members use the same platform when exchanging or discussing sensitive information with colleagues and management, and it should be a platform that features end-to-end encryption if possible.


Set high standards for your team

You should try to encourage your team to consider aspects of confidentiality on a regular basis and act accordingly so that they can stay safe online.

You might like to consider putting an authentication process in place for all devices that are used to access your company systems, such as 2FA (two factor authentication).


Impose safeguarding procedures

When it comes to safeguarding confidential information whilst staff are working outside of the office, there are several systematic settings you might wish to implement:


  • An automated lock-out

This setting is usually something that can be put into place by IT staff fairly easily, and it will ensure that a device or system is automatically locked after a set period of inactivity.


  • Make your email more secure

For certain emails containing sensitive data, you might like to consider using password protection/encryption. This will involve the receiver having to input a password in order to access the email once it has landed in their inbox. You should be careful to send any password details to the receiver via another platform, such as WhatsApp.


  • Keep your firewall and antivirus up to date

Keeping on top of your antivirus software updates is essential in everyday practice, but particularly so when working from home. Ensure your team has all of the necessary firewalls and antivirus programmes activated to prevent devices or sensitive accounts from being hacked or damaged.


  • Encrypt all devices

It’s worth noting that devices being used outside of the office are more likely to be lost or stolen. For this reason, you might consider encrypting all devices which are currently being used by remote workers. This will prevent access to the device, and any sensitive information held on the device, should it land into the wrong hands.


Stay safe, stay secure

The above information outlines basic measures that can be put into place, many of them remotely, in order to keep your device and any sensitive or confidential data or information safe.

The best practices to adopt will be dependent upon your specific company services and circumstances. For further advice on your legal responsibility for client data protection, please contact a member of our team on 01282 433241.