Data protection in the home office has now become a very relevant topic, as mobile working and general digitization are steadily increasing in Germany. Handling and protecting personal data is, therefore, more important than ever before. In this article, you will learn how the home office can be integrated into your corporate culture in a data protection-compliant manner.
What data protection principles are actually relevant when working in a home office? In principle, all data with which the respective employee comes into contact at his or her home office must always be taken into consideration. According to Article 4 No. 1 of the EU Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR), personal data describes all information relating to a natural person who can be identified by means of the allocation of various data.
In addition to this personal data, social data from the German Social Security Code also plays an important role. These are defined primarily in Section 67 (1) SGB. In principle, the processing of this information can pose a risk to the personal rights of your employees, which is why it is essential to observe the data protection guidelines for companies.
DSGVO guidelines for data protection in the home office
Since May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) adopted by the European Parliament has applied to the European Union. In it, the main issue is to protect personal data. It provides that work from home should be done exclusively with hardware and software provided by the employer. This regulation applies not only to laptops and PCs but also to storage media such as a server or other hardware provided by the employer.
For your home office employees, you can, for example, use a VPN connection that allows employees to access your company’s IT infrastructure. Alternatively, if it is not possible to set up such access, the data can be stored locally. In this case, the personal data of the employee must be encrypted in advance. The locally stored data should also be transferred to your company’s systems as quickly as possible.
Data protection risks at a glance
If your employees work in a home office, data protection risks may increase. Here are some examples of such risks that you should avoid at all costs:
Espionage and unauthorized intrusion into IT systems
Exposure of sensitive company data
Faulty manipulation of hardware or software
Unauthorized third-party use of devices and systems
Uncontrolled data loss
Unauthorized access to personnel data, customer data or trade secrets
Implementing data protection in the home office
How can you ensure data protection in your employees’ home office? To do so, you should consider several factors:
Computer and hardware protection and security Protect desktop PCs, laptops and other hardware with passwords. Computers should only be used by authorized persons. To protect personal data, ensure that information can only be read by authorized users.
Keep documents confidential Discuss with your employees which documents must be treated as particularly confidential. Documents containing personal data or company secrets should be kept in a secure location so that family members or guests do not have access to them. Here, for example, a lockable study or a lockable filing cabinet is advantageous. The data carriers used, such as USB sticks, should also be locked and always encrypted.
Do not dispose of confidential documents If your employees no longer need confidential documents, they should not mix them with private waste paper. Company internal papers may contain notes or documents with sensitive personal data. Therefore, all paperwork documents should always be shredded before disposal.
Secure Internet access Make sure your employees have encrypted Wi-Fi access at their home workstations as well. In addition, workers should be able to use a secure connection to company servers.
Data backup Protect yourself against the loss of your data. Both your employees and yourself should always store data on the respective company server. In the event of theft or system damage, this will ensure that the company’s internal data is secured and will not be lost.
Encryption of the data Check whether your company’s systems have automatic encryption. For this, it is advantageous to have an encryption product that can prevent data loss in the event of power failures or encryption aborts on the system side. You should also make sure that the encryption algorithm meets your company’s requirements and is compatible with the computer used.
Expert advice on remote work
If you are currently dealing with the topic of data protection in the home office or would like to inform yourself about remote work, please contact us. outsourcing4work has been working 100% remotely for many years and offers you competent advice on modern remote work models and the possibilities and pitfalls of the home office.
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