Hybrid Working

My Data Protection Diary: Hybrid Working

Welcome to the new page of my Data Protection Diary, it will be an interesting session enriched by my enthusiasm to be able to return to an almost normal life.

Hearing about the reopening of bars and restaurants, planning summer holidays and going back to work in the office... excites me! After more than a year, our life will almost return to the way it was before.

And this is precisely the subject of this entry to my diary.

How Covid-19 has changed our habits, what our approach to work will be like in the coming months and how this will affect organisations with regards to their data protection systems.

Kellie's contribution to an article published by B4 on "The Home Office of The Future" and the latest news across various channels gave me the right input to dedicate this session to this topic. As mentioned by Kellie in the B4 article, one of the peculiarities of the pandemic was a speedier response to customers, where it seems impossible to postpone a phone call to the next day. Also, but not least, daily activities have changed, and our working lives and home lives have become blurred.

Though this was first considered as a new and different approach to working life, it is now becoming a normal habit for many individuals.

In fact, statistics show that 41% of employees in the UK want their company to adopt a hybrid way of working. The hybrid office is an office setup where employees have the flexibility to work from the office or anywhere else, having access to the tools they need to do their jobs.

It is from this perspective that my fun chat with Kellie begins. Grab your cup of tea and enjoy our conversation!

G.P.: Hybrid working will be the choice of many companies and this will lead to a revolution for the work system. Kellie, what are the biggest risks to organisations regarding data protection systems?

K.P.: A good question, Giulia. Companies that intend to adopt a hybrid working model will be able to manage risks, if they have a precise and functioning data protection system and staff trained on their responsibilities under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR. For other organisations who may not be quite so well set up, the most obvious risks are likely to be these two:

  • Where is company information and data stored? The ability to work remotely means that an organisation needs to have an accessible, single system to store business and customer data. Many companies do not have specific software to store and archive files. Not having a single system for storing files, information and data poses great risks in terms of data protection. Having data stored in multiple locations will not lead to your employees working efficiently, and increases the risk of a data breach as it’s harder to keep track of it all, which could be detrimental to your company's reputation.
  • Another risk, but no less important, is the movement of paper-based information. Hybrid working allows us to work at the office or in any place we like as long as it we can perform our duties effectively.
    Transferring important documents from the 'office' to another location could result in misplacement or loss. Did you know that it is common to lose documents on the train? Yep, when your stop is approaching, the rush to put everything back in your bag could cause you to miss an important document ... and sometimes even your laptop. Once it’s gone, it can be tricky to receive and in the wrong hands, that information can travel around the world in a second.
    It’s not just the train that presents a risk, but also the transfer of documents from home to the office by car, and vice versa... A quick stop on the way home to do some shopping or run an errand could result in data loss if information is left unattended in the car. Avoid leaving important information and technology inside your car, as there are always people around ready to take advantage of an opportunity.

G.P.: Thank you Kellie for analysing and explaining, with practical examples, the risks associated with hybrid working. But at Databasix we usually provide useful tips to support all the organizations that are looking to adopt this way of working.

My final question for you Kellie is: what are the steps or processes that every organisation must adopt so that hybrid working is not a threat to the data?

K.P.: I love the world of data, there is always a solution. Yes, my three top tips are:

  • My first suggestion is to conduct an Information Audit. This will help you identify the number of digital systems in place, where the documents are stored, what the gaps are and how they can be solved through an analysis between your policy and the company reality.
  • My second tip is to invest in a great Electronic Document Management System (EDMS). This supports you in your records management approach and content management for digital imaging and file storage.
  • My final advice is to strengthen and improve your document Management Processes over time. Get a complete picture of your business operations by focusing on important business services and associated datasets. As your business grows, you accumulate more data, information, and documents, and so it becomes increasingly important to have a solution in place to manage them, and ensure you have the right resources in place to support your organisation’s data management and data protection processes.

This is useful Kellie. Thank you!

And if the future continues to present so many changes to our working days, we will always be motivated to seek solutions so that the changes become a comfortable reality.

Thanks for reading this diary page of mine and I hope our tips will be useful to you in your 9-5 working day!

See you soon, with great news.

Giulia

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