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Data Privacy in the Age of Remote Work: Ensuring Compliance and Security

Remote working existed before COVID-19, but it emerged as an essential business strategy to help counteract the disruptive effects that the pandemic had on employees’ professional lives.

Statistics showed that in May 2023 alone, 39 percent of UK workers reported that they work from home at least once a week. This shows that remote or hybrid working is here to stay for most businesses.

While working from home certainly has its place in modern business, there are challenges regarding data privacy that need to be recognized.

To prevent data leaks and mitigate GDPR risks, it is a critical concern for businesses operating in the UK to adopt new cyber security standards.

Regulatory Framework in the UK

The responsibility for data privacy falls into the jurisdiction of the company itself and is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This acts as a regulatory framework that ensures organizations are handling personal data and information securely and legally.

It provides regulations on everything from data minimization and storage limitation to confidentiality and accountability.

Remote working gives employees more freedom and flexibility, but it also increases the likelihood of exposure to security threats in some respects. From data storage to Wi-Fi, companies need to ensure their workforce is well-versed in GDPR standards and data security policies.

Data Security Challenges

Devices, access, and storage are key areas of concern when working from home. Remote workers may not be aware of the difference between accessing company data from the work site compared to at home.

Data is at risk of losing its integrity when not handled properly or exposed to third parties.

Similarly, accessing data using personal or public Wi-Fi and from their own devices can be tricky. The connection is not as protected as what you would find in corporate offices. These are easier for potential cyber criminals to infiltrate.

Remote Access and Data Protection

Regardless of location, the work can be completed safely with transparent data protection policies. Employers should have written policy agreements in place with remote workers before they begin working outside of the office.

This should inform employees about their obligations, the company’s confidentiality policy, and information regarding appropriate workstations and privacy software.

Employee Training and Awareness

Ensuring compliance with data privacy law to prevent penalties starts with detailed employee training. Remote workers need to be aware of their responsibilities and new hire and refresher courses can help instil a data security culture.

Information on document management, notification procedures, and unauthorized software use should be covered.

One of the most common threats to cyber security is phishing and social engineering attempts. Employees should be educated on how to identify these threats through responsible email usage and mobile device policies.

Protocols for what to do in the event of a data security breach should also be outlined.

Privacy-Enhancing Technologies

Privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) are designed to extract data value to access its full commercial, scientific and social potential without risking privacy and security.

These are invaluable tools when ensuring that private data stays private and are multi-purpose assets for data collaboration and accountability.

VPNs and two-factor authentication offer protection in the form of encryption. Even if an employee’s password is hacked, it is harder for cyber attackers to gain access to their devices and online accounts.

Data Transfer and Cross-Border Considerations

Depending on the nature of your company, there will be instances where customer data will be transferred between partners, suppliers, overseas connections and other remote employees outside of the EU.

As data privacy law changes between countries, it is up to the European Commission to decide whether a country offers appropriate levels of data protection.

To achieve and maintain compliance within cross-border transfers businesses ensure that adequate safeguards are in place. Binding Corporate Rules (BCR) are internal rules established by multinational organizations to ensure data is protected and encrypted to maintain its integrity.

Monitoring and Compliance Audits

Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of data security and compliance policies can reduce liability and fines associated with data breaches. Audits determine whether staff are correctly following compliance regulations in their daily workday, at home or the office.

With this information, businesses can identify areas of greatest risk for remote workers and adjust data protection policies as they get results.

Kevin James

Kevin James

I'm Kevin James, and I'm passionate about writing on Security and cybersecurity topics. Here, I'd like to share a bit more about myself. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from Utica College, New York, which has been the foundation of my career in cybersecurity. As a writer, I have the privilege of sharing my insights and knowledge on a wide range of cybersecurity topics. You'll find my articles here at, covering the latest trends, threats, and solutions in the field.