With cybersecurity breaches breaking records in 2021, more companies are taking measures to mitigate these risks. In this guest post, Lydia Iseh reveals how to protect data privacy for remote workers, including the general privacy laws and best practices companies can adopt to ensure safe remote hiring.
Data privacy has become a significant concern in remote hiring since the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the latest statistics, 58.6% of U.S. employees work from home. Also, by 2028, 73% of all departments are expected to work from home. However, remote work can put organizations at risk of increased data breaches. For example, there were 4,145 publicly announced data breaches in 2021, and the numbers keep growing. Although data breaches are common for organizations, only a few take them seriously. Studies show that 62.4% of companies are not entirely compliant with data privacy regulations. It’s crucial to adhere to data privacy laws to protect your staff and companies’ information.
What Is Data Privacy?
Data privacy is a person’s ability to control the usage of their sensitive information. Individuals can determine how, when, and to what extent their data is shared and communicated to others with an effective data privacy system. The sensitive data can be their name, contact information, location, online behavior, etc. Therefore, protecting employees’ personal information and the company’s data as they collaborate on projects remotely is critical.
Essentially, data privacy is concerned with individuals’ rights, the objectives of data collection, and how businesses manage users’ personal information. Also, it focuses on how to collect, process, share, archive, and delete the data following the law. Therefore, companies hiring employees are responsible for ensuring their data isn’t compromised by preventing unauthorized access and giving their staff the right to choose who has access to their information.
The Importance of Data Privacy for Remote Workers
Adequate data privacy for remote workers is a must-have for any organization. Here’s why:
It Helps Companies Avoid Data Policy Violation Fines
Data privacy prevents breaches and other attacks on employees’ sensitive information. Therefore, ensuring adequate protection and data privacy for remote workers can control the penalties and sanctions associated with violating data protection laws.
It Builds Employees’ Trust
Employees want to work in an organization that respects their data privacy. So, by ensuring adequate information protection for staff, you can earn their trust. Workers can perform comfortably remotely, knowing that their sensitive information is a priority within your organization. This enhances their productivity and generates an excellent employee turnover rate.
It Enhances Better Data Management
Data privacy promotes accountability. To safeguard your employees’ sensitive information from unlawful access, analyze and organize the data you collect. By doing this, you will have a framework of the information you order, the data you use, and those irrelevant to employees’ roles. This ensures proper data management and prevents their information from being compromised.
What Are the Laws That Govern Data Privacy?
Governments worldwide have provided data privacy laws and policies to regulate data breaches in their jurisdictions. Below are some of the most prominent data privacy regulatory bodies:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR demands that these companies adhere to the consumer rights policies, including notifying and seeking customers’ consent if they want to collect, share or use their information for marketing purposes. It also mandates organizations to frequently assess their site’s data security to ensure all activities strictly adhere to the GDPR policies. Additionally, the GDPR requires that any personally identifiable information (PII) be rendered anonymous or replaced with a pseudonym when evaluating their customers’ data. This regulation also applies to the Human Resources department of companies to safeguard employees’ records.
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
The CCPA is a legal framework to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California, United States. The policy demands that California residents be given the right to know what personal information is collected from them, whether it is distributed or sold, and to whom.
It also gives users the right to say no to selling their personal information and have access to their data online. In addition, the policy provides individuals full rights over how organizations collect and use their data. As a result, consumers have more rights to how their information is shared and sold to third parties. It also ensures that companies take data privacy seriously to protect customers and employees.
Effective Practices to Ensure Data Privacy When Hiring Remotely
There are specific practices companies must adopt to provide adequate data privacy for remote employees. Let’s take a look.
Know the Privacy Laws That Apply to Employees
The first step to safeguarding your employees’ data is understanding the privacy laws concerning your employees. Afterwards, put necessary measures to ensure your organization is entirely in compliance.
Collect Relevant Employee Data
Stick to essential details only when collecting remote workers’ data. This means excluding irrelevant details and focusing only on the information that matters. Therefore, limit the facts you accumulate to data relevant to their roles in your organization. These may include resumes, payroll information, performance reviews, and employment contracts. Limiting the volume of sensitive information you collect from employees can reduce data breach risks. Additionally, you will have better control to safeguard the data you’ve gathered.
Employ Data Privacy Tools
Providing tools for your remote employees enhances their workflow and prevents their data from being compromised while working from home. Therefore, encourage them to install firewalls and other data privacy tools to prevent unauthorized access to their personal information. To ensure data privacy for your remote employees, you can also adopt multi-factor authentication log-ins, password managers, and encryption storage solutions to give employees complete control over their data privacy when working remotely.
Create Reliable File-Sharing Platforms
When working remotely, employees collaborate on tasks and use project management platforms to share, edit and comment on drafts, project details, and completed tasks. So, it’s critical to employ the services of a reliable project management and file sharing platform to ensure their data isn’t compromised in the process.
Meet DSR Requests Within Deadlines
Ensure to meet your employees’ Data Subject Rights (DSR) request time to avoid facing penalties and other legal actions. DSR states that the data subject has the right to request and confirm if you hold their data. Therefore, by fulfilling the Data Subject Rights requests, you show that you are a trusted company with respect for your workers’ data privacy.
Audit All the Processing of the Company’s Data
Regular auditing of your employee processed data will help you identify any inadequacies. You can record their activities, including recruiting, onboarding, and management processes. Also, through adequate auditing of employees’ data, you can detect early signs of data breaches or impede an impending violation of your employee data privacy.
Inform Your Employees of Any Violation of Their Data
The GDPR and CCPA privacy demands that all appropriate measures protect employees’ data privacy. However, if, for any reason, their data privacy is compromised, notify the affected employees immediately. This will help you comply with the privacy policies and help the workers fix any shortcomings from their end.
Control Access to Employee Data
Prevent employee data violation by ensuring that only authorized personnel in your organization access employees’ information. By restricting access, you protect employees’ data and their sensitive information from malicious intents, which results in better data privacy for your remote employees.
Provide Work-Specific Cloud Systems
Ensure every employee has a work-specific cloud system and dedicated work devices. Since it’s easy to mix work with personal life when working at home, using the same cloud system and devices for work and personal purposes increases the possibility of data privacy violations. Therefore, providing cloud systems and work devices for remote workers can prevent mixing their personal details with work.
Provide Training on Data Privacy
Protect the privacy of your remote employees by educating them on what data privacy entails and what they can do to stay compliant. To do this, include frequent and mandatory training in your remote policies to enlighten them on their rights, the risks involved in data privacy violation, and the best practices to adopt for adequate data privacy protection.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a reliable way for companies to protect their employees’ sensitive information. They secure remote access, guaranteeing the privacy of your employees. Also, VPNs use dedicated servers, making it easier for IT teams to manage employees’ data from any location.
Additionally, VPNs provide online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network. With encrypted connections, your employees will have adequate privacy on the data they send and receive.
On Guard of Employee Data Privacy
Safeguarding employees’ privacy is crucial to maintaining compliance, gaining employees’ trust, and protecting their data from unauthorized access when working remotely. By adopting the aforementioned reliable practices businesses can protect data privacy for their remote workers.
What challenges have you faced when implementing remote work data security processes? Share with us! Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
Lydia Iseh is a writer with years of experience in writing SEO content that provides value to the reader. As someone who believes in the power of SEO to transform businesses, she enjoys being part of the process that helps websites rank high on search engines.
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