COVID-19 and Return to Work Compliance Resources More Info

How do I work from home securely?

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Information Commissioner’s Office, retrieved on 28th May 2020, licensed under the Open Government Licence.

If you’re new to working from home, there can be a number of challenges. We’ve put together ten top tips to make sure data protection isn’t one of them.

  1. Follow your organisation’s policies, procedures and guidance
    Your organisation will have adapted their approach to ensure that data is adequately protected. Avoid the temptation to do things in a way you think is more convenient, such as sending emails through your personal account or using the video conferencing app that you use with friends for work calls.
  2. Only use approved technology for handling personal data
    If your organisation has provided you with technology such as hardware or software you should use it. This will provide the best protection for personal data.
  3. Consider confidentiality when holding conversations or using a screen
    You may be sharing your home working space with other family members or friends. Try to hold conversations, where they are less likely to overhear you and position your screen where it is less likely to be overseen.
  4. Take care with print outs
    At the office, it is likely you can use confidential waste bins. At home you won’t have that facility. Follow your organisation’s guidance or safely store print outs until you can take them into the office and dispose of them securely.
  5. Don’t mix your organisation’s data with your own personal data
    If you have to work using your own device and software, keep your organisation’s data separate to avoid accidentally keeping hold of data for longer than is necessary. Ideally, your organisation should have provided you with secure technology to work with.
  6. Lock it away where possible
    To avoid loss or theft of personal data, put print outs and devices away at the end of the working day if possible.
  7. Be extra vigilant about opening web links and attachments in emails or other messages
    Don’t click on unfamiliar web links or attachments claiming to give you important coronavirus updates. We’re seeing a rise in scams so follow the National Cyber Security Centre’s (NCSC) guidance on spotting suspicious emails.
  8. Use strong passwords
    Whether using online storage, a laptop or some other technology, it’s important to make your passwords hard to guess. The NCSC recommends using three random words together as a password (eg ‘coffeetrainfish’ or ‘walltincake’). Make sure you use different passwords for different services too.
  9. Communicate securely
    Use the communication facilities provided to you by your organisation where available. If you need to share data with others then choose a secure messaging app or online document sharing system. If you have to use email, which isn’t always secure, consider password protecting documents and sharing the passwords via a different channel, like text.
  10. Keep software up to date
    If you’re using your own equipment, don’t be an easy target for hackers. Keep your security software up to date to make it more difficult for them to get in. If your organisation has provided you with technology to work from home, this should be managed for you.

Thank you for reading.

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