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Will working from home cause more data leaks?

Redactie Xafax Redactie Xafax

The old familiar office as a social meeting place and working from home as the new normal? This view on working from home is increasingly shared by experts in the field of employment. One thing is certain: working from home more often means that we will increasingly discuss, share, email and chat things online. How does this actually work with privacy-sensitive information - and how do you prevent a cascade of data leaks by home workers in 'the new normal'? Experts warn of an exponential increase in data breaches in 2020. Reason to worry?

Working from home the 'new normal', even after COVID-19
Shaping a practically executable vision of a possible new work reality in the short, medium and long term is the order of the day for many organizations, and that is quite a task. With the arrival of increasingly better internet, a major traffic jam problem in the Netherlands and working in 'the cloud', it is actually more than logical that we are working from home more and more often. We already made extensive use of this in the Netherlands before the Corona crisis. The Netherlands is therefore the largest home-working country in Europe (14.0 percent sometimes work from home). After the Netherlands, Finland is the most enthusiastic country to work from home with 13.3 percent, followed by Luxembourg (11.0 percent), Austria (10.0 percent) and Denmark (7.8 percent). This is evident from figures from Eurostat, the EU's European statistical office.

More and more organizations such as Twitter, Google, but also Dutch companies - often technology companies - such as MessageBird, even have a policy in which working from home has become the norm. The Coronavirus gave them that final push. It is expected that more and more organizations will follow suit, even after the COVID-19 pandemic. And there lies a major challenge in preventing a data breach or the unsafe sharing of privacy-sensitive information.

Video calling, sharing documents, signing online, chatting and emailing. Is that safe?
The work-from-home trend comes with significant challenges for information security officers, CISOs and CIOs of organizations. Because everything we did in the office before the Coronavirus, we now discuss online via video calling or email. And then hackers know too.

While we are increasingly protecting ourselves against hackers and attacks from outside, the greatest danger often lies with our own employees. In 2019, 87 percent (!) of data breaches were caused by our own employees. Often unconsciously. In many cases, sensitive information was shared via insecure email, data was sent to the wrong recipient, with an incorrect attachment, or accidentally cc'd all recipients instead of bcc'd. These same employees are not that concerned about data leakage or privacy.

Reason for concern: “Prevent data leaks from home workers!”
Only 9 percent of Dutch people are concerned about a data breach or cyber attack if they work from home. This is evident from the recently published figures of the Unisys Security Index 2020. Concerns about internet security fell by 32 percent. In addition, concerns about hacking and computer viruses have also decreased significantly: 23 percent of respondents are still concerned about this, compared to 45 percent in 2019.

The combination of many home workers who are not concerned about data leakage and the increase in the sharing of privacy-sensitive data is worrying. Fortunately, many data leaks can often be prevented with the implementation of a secure communication platform (including software for secure e-mailing, secure file sharing, etc.), clear internal regulations and - not to forget - awareness.

Does your organization need help optimizing its online infrastructure? Or are you and your employees increasingly working from home these days, without being properly informed of the risks? For no-obligation advice, please contact us on 072 750 1800 or email .

Source: Computable

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