Home » privacy shield » Working from Home: Data Privacy Risks in the COVID-19 Era

With COVID still around the corner and roaring with all its effectiveness, the whole country has gone into a total lockdown mode as a precautionary measure. Offices, whether they are government or private, are shut close, industries are shut, markets empty, and railways stopped, which is something that has never happened before, not even at the time of wars. With all these restrictions going on, the “Work from home” formula was the last resort.

Work from home is the process of employees working from home without visiting the office of the company that they are working for. This culture might seem new in India right now, but quite a lot of MNCs have been adapting and working with it for quite a long time in more developed countries such as the USA, UK, etc. This working method has its own merits and demerits. But work from home is not possible for every existing job. Supposedly only white-collar jobs are of the nature that falls along the lines of work from home.

Educational institutes have also been seen moving towards online learning and teaching methods which initially created a lot of ruckuses but now is calm.

The industry which has adapted and been using the work from home option is IT. The nature of the work involved in the IT industry is such that employees can work from anywhere. The offices, their home, an island, or literally anywhere, the employees require only a laptop and an internet connection to work. Work from home seems to be going very well for employees, so good that, now the employees, if given a chance, would like to continue working from home forever. According to a survey, 47% of employers will give the employees to permanently work from home, even when things go back to normal. Also, after conducting a survey, it has been found that more than 80% of the employees would want to work for a day from home in the week.

But for some employees, it is becoming a difficult task to get their head around the fact that work from home is the new normal. Security concern is the main point of worry. Employees working from home would work with their devices and use their internet. This increases the risk of cyber-attacks manifold. IT offices had the required infrastructure to stop these breaches, like firewalls and the ability to blacklist IP addresses. This decreased the chances of any such breach. Now that employees would be working from home, these security features will no more be with them, and chances of a security breach would shoot up. Also, working on the internet involves certain risks. Hackers and crackers can hack into your account and get the required sensitive information. Moreover, the kind of internet connection that these offices had was way better than what the employees have at their homes. An efficient internet connection speeds up the work.

Some security concerns to be kept in mind:

Some security concerns

1) Avoid using public networks: While working remotely, try connecting to your network. Avoid using public networks such as Wi-Fi at public stations, unencrypted Wi-Fi that you randomly bumped into, etc. Using a public network makes your data on the internet, such as emails and Google docs, vulnerable to attacks. Also, try using a VPN while working, which maintains security.

2) Keep data secured: Try keeping all the work-related data in one place, preferably on your work computer. Keeping your data unorganized and spread across different devices not only causes chaos but also increases the possibility of data being stolen, as you can’t maintain the same security across all devices.

3) Concealing files: Sensitive files related to office work should be thoroughly encrypted. As if your work system is in public possession, then sensitive files can be accessed easily. Also, emails can be encrypted, so if anyone does get hold of your email inbox, still accessing your emails wouldn’t be possible for them, and they will be encrypted and require a password to unlock.

4) Using USB data blocker: While working at public places like coffee shops, airports, etc. you don’t know who is searching for an opportunity; with the excuse of charging their devices, they might try to extract data. So the best solution is to use a USB data blocker. This enables charging only, which avoids the possibility of any chances of data theft at these public places.

Advantages of Work from Home:

Advantages of Work from Home

 

1) Economically advantageous: If employees are working from home, this saves a big chunk of their income. Their expenses are null in sectors like transportation, home rent, etc. This gives them the coveted advantage of making savings and investing for a bright future.

2) Work-life balance: Working from home lets employees stay at home with their loved ones. This dramatically reduces their stress levels, and their work-life balance is restored to its original state. This allows the employee’s mind to open freely, thus increasing their work efficiency.

3) Environment: While working from home, the employees have the liberty to create their working environment. Employees can make desirable changes and modifications in their workspace as suitable to them. This creates an atmosphere of ease and is soothing for them. For instance, instead of working on desks and chairs, they can cozily work on their bed or recliner or their comfy bean bags. This eases their mind even while working on a complicated project. Along with work, they can listen to their favorite music. Wearing comfortable clothes also is a factor in providing them relief. All these factors lead to the easing of minds of employees and keeping their stress level low, which in turn helps to enhance productivity in employees.

4) Curbed distractions: Not going to the office also saves employees from many other distractions such as engagement in useless debates, office politics, office gossip among employees, etc. The time saved on these things can be used to work more productively.

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