6 Tips to Comply with Privacy when employees are WFH

Apr 14, 2020

Most businesses have previously reviewed their physical and IT security measures in light of their general requirements under the Privacy Act, including the requirement to keep the personal information they hold secure.

But how can you continue to comply with this requirement when many of your employees might now be working from home? We’ve set out six tips below to help.

1. Secure the workspace

Encourage your employees to work in private places, where third parties are not able to see their screen or hear the content of their phone calls. In particular, remind employees that their backyard is not an appropriate place to take a business phone call, as neighbours or passers-by may be able to overhear them.

2. Avoid unknown networks

While free public Wi-Fi sounds great, it’s important to ensure that your employees know not to use public Wi-Fi or networks unknown to them, as data traffic between Wi-Fi enabled devices and public Wi-Fi networks can be easily intercepted. In order to ensure that your employees don’t inadvertently connect to any public or unknown networks, request that they update their device settings to not automatically connect to open networks.

3. Secure devices and programs

Where possible, provide employees with devices which have been appropriately secured and encourage them to use only those approved devices and accounts for work related purposes. In addition, request that employees avoid using programs for sending data and video unless it has been explicitly approved by the company.

4. Notify immediately of lost data or devices

Remind employees of their obligations to contact your company’s privacy officers immediately if they become aware of any lost, stolen, intercepted or misplaced information or devices. Make sure that you act quickly on any notification to work out whether it constitutes an eligible data breach which should be notified to the relevant authorities.

5. Be aware of scams

Finally, with the amount of reported online malicious activity increasing in the COVID-19 environment, encourage your employees to stay alert to any phishing scams, to check emails carefully and to be cautious of clicking links received from unknown senders. This increase will likely continue, so it’s important that you and your employees remain vigilant.

If you are not aware of your obligations under the Privacy Act or have any concerns about complying with the Privacy Act while your employees are working from home, our Commercial Team is here to help.