How Covid-19 Brought to Focus Risks to Your Data Privacy And Governance

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay 

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant global lockdown have effectively changed the way businesses operate, which to a large extent, has serious impacts on your data privacy and governance. Out of the blues, organizations and their employees must adapt to a new way of working. 

The aftermath of the radical change is that a lot of employees have relocated their offices to the home. While this may be a brand-new innovation to some organizations, a few had before the outbreak, been practicing flexible working for some time. 

These organizations were more favorably disposed to adapt to the new world and way of working with relative ease. They were armed with sturdy procedures, practices, and had IT infrastructure in place to cushion the effects of working away from the office. 

However, a lot of organizations were left in a sort of quandary, the change was rather impromptu, it was too much, albeit too soon, and they were not prepared for the plunge. As a result, they had to contend with data privacy breaches and the ensuing governance concerns.  

Cybersecurity has been a burning issue even before the onset of the pandemic, but the scourge took the situation to an all-time height. Every day, businesses have to grapple with new challenges that surface in the cybersecurity world as well as other areas. 

What, however, gives organizations sleepless nights the most is how to ensure data privacy and governance compliance in the face of the raging pandemic. The most important risks your brand may face this period are employees, regulation, physical, and human rights. 

Once you know the risks, the next step is ensuring you put measures in place to mitigate them.

Risks from employees

The pandemic has drastically changed the way we work. Employees, now more than ever before, rely on their home broadband. They have resorted to making use of their home computers for remote working, banking, communication – often using sensitive sites.

While some effort may have been made by an employee to secure any device used at home it cannot be compared to what you get from an organization, taking into consideration the financial involvement in securing IT devices. This situation leaves an opening for the employee to be exploited directly and the organization indirectly by hackers. 

To mitigate this, you may consider an increased adoption and deployment of cloud to enable your employees to access the computing infrastructures, platforms, and services they need. You, however, need to ensure your cloud storage is secure and meets the necessary regulations for the protection of your organization itself and your data as well.

Your IT policy should clearly state what employees can and can’t do. If there is no clarity, the whole system will be confused since they will have to make decisions at their whims.

Regulation risks

What COVID-19 foisted on us is the increased use of cloud in place of our physical hardware space that’s usually kept in the office. This has caused organizations to focus on compliance and regulatory risks

You need to constantly review any local legislation that applies to you and ensure that your employees are also in tune with the legislation. Whether they are going contrary to the legislation should be uppermost in your employees’ minds. 

The fact that they are working from home should not be an excuse for not complying with legislation when accessing data. 

Physical risk

Having your employees working from home which is away from your secure office locations also opens up a myriad of physical risks you should care about. Virtual assistant artificial intelligence (AI) technology devices, routers, smart kettles, and any other internet of things (IoT) technology in the home could be data privacy can of worms for your organization.

Some devices in the home, such as virtual assistant AI technology, can record information when an employee is making work-related calls. This can lead to a breach of privacy and data.

Even people within your vicinity, while working at home, can be a source of risk to data privacy and governance. We know you may not have any reason to distrust your family member, however, handling of data must remain confidential. 

It’s your business to determine what risks are paramount to running your organization. Once you have established this, the next step is to determine what works for you. 

It may not be very true that what works for others must work for you, but you need to take into cognizance, the world’s best standards all the time. Don’t just focus on the short-term risks, do all it takes to always have in mind the long-term implications of your decisions.

There is every reason for you to act very quickly and decisively too, to forestall any risk to data privacy and governance especially at this time the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and everything seems to have gone haywire. Don’t forget that you must always update yourself with data protection legislation, as things can change at any time based on the situation at hand. 

There is every hope that the world will return to normalcy again. Until then, however, you must be on your toes.

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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