The pandemic has changed the game for data security.

With more people than ever before working from home, and more companies embracing a work from anywhere culture, the cyber security landscape has shifted again.

Working from home was a decision that came quickly and with that, a range of challenges and issues emerged, including data security. Working from anywhere means that confidential data can be more easily accessed and a data breach more likely to occur.

As outlined by Michael Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Housing Regulator, the number and sophistication of cyberattacks has risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic. These data breaches can not only undermine consumer confidence in your company but also lead to costly GDPR fines. These new working practices need a different data security stance different from working from a centralised office.

Here are our top five data security considerations when working remotely

1. Create a cybersecurity policy and share this with your staff

It’s difficult to know where to begin when considering data security but the best place to start is to establish a cybersecurity policy. According to Gov.UK, only a quarter of businesses have a cyber security policy that covers home working. Set out a policy and share this with all employees, whether they’re remote workers or not! This policy should outline all the various security protocols employees need to meet. All employees must take ownership of protecting employer data and a policy will help all employees to understand what the expectations are.

2. Keep your network secure with a virtual private network

While working remotely, laptops and devices can be used in a range of public places, from libraries to cafes. These places may have Wi-Fi sources that lack data encryption. So, it’s important to use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to the internet. A VPN will encrypt any data that you send over the web. Check out a VPN system such as NordVPN or Bitdefender.

3. Update your devices with the latest software

Whenever you get the little pop up asking you to update your device, give it a click! While it’s tempting to just press the “remind me later” button, it’s good practice to complete these updates because you may be compromising the security of your devices. The manufacturers could have noticed a security hole which lets hackers steal your data and so by issuing an update, they’re taking enhanced measures to ensure that you are all safe. At all times, make sure that you’re using the latest version of the software in all your devices.

4. Encryption

Have you considered encrypting your devices? This will help to keep extremely sensitive intellectual property secure. If an employee’s device was lost or stolen, then sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands and expose the company to data breaches. Encryption software can protect company data by denying access to any unauthorised users.

Businesses should also be mindful that programs used for chatting or any email applications should have end-to-end encryption. Consider using Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat as files can easily be encrypted and remote workers can then share personal information safely.

5. Keep sensitive information safe

When working from anywhere, your employees need to think about who can hear them on the phone if they’re taking calls in public or even in the garden. Employees also need to be mindful of who can see their screen. You never know if that barista has been able to have a good look over your shoulder at some sensitive customer data!

These are just some of the things to consider now we’ve entered the remote world of work on a mass scale. If you’d like to know more about what you need to consider and some top tips on data security in a remote working world, come along to our event – Data Security – How remote working is rewriting the rules which is part of our 10 Days of Data event series. We’ll be leaving you feeling confident that you can ensure your business is GDPR compliant and ready for the challenges that remote working may bring to data security within your business.

With data breach fines of up to £17.5 million or 4% of your annual turnover, it’s vital to ensure your business’ data is kept secure. For just £60, you can attend the 10 Days of Data: Data security now event.

If you want to learn more about the value of data across other areas of your business, you can book an organisation passport which secures two places at each event, 20 places in total for your organisation (including keynote sessions) and additional fringe events to be announced.