The coronavirus has changed how we work dramatically. With new methods of communication, new threats, and less time in the office, some businesses have discovered that remote work is making them more productive. Many remote workers are reporting higher levels of job satisfaction and even improved mental health after gaining more control over their workday. However, not all work is equally suited to this new normal. Some businesses that regularly process confidential information are struggling with how to adapt their in-office privacy standards for home work.
A recent study conducted by Go Shred found that almost two-thirds of home workers admitted to printing out office documents on their home printer. While some of these materials were not sensitive, others admitted to printing documents that contained confidential client and employee data, ranging from home addresses to personal medical information. The problems, however, don’t end at the printer. Disposal methods are also shoddy for many home workers. 24% of those surveyed who had printed confidential information had not disposed of those materials at the time of the survey. Of the 76% who had destroyed the documents, roughly 20% used their home shredder and municipal trash removal to do so–another privacy failure.
It’s understandable why this occurs: convenience is king at the home office. That doesn’t excuse the practice, which significantly increases business liability and consumer risk. Remote workers need a defined procedure that they can follow, and consequences for failure. Decision-makers who need to navigate COVID safety protocols and confidentiality best practices to design those guidelines will be the ones who control how secure their data really is. Maximizing worker safety, data privacy, and ease-of-use will all be crucial components of that process–but creating guidelines to regulate that behavior is the only way we can solve the issue of confidentiality. Until we’re back in the office, that is!
If you’re interested in learning more about data privacy, check out this article summarizing Go Shred’s findings. If you’re interested in working to develop a comprehensive compliance plan for your company, or if you’re just looking for everyday IT solutions, you can reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (703) 790-0400.