Business Advice, Legal

Is Your Business Up to Date with Data Privacy Laws?

Nigel Cannings | 13 September 2021 | 3 years ago

data protection

No matter how big or small a business is – or which sector it is based in – it is legally obliged to ensure data is kept safe and secure. This applies not only to customer data such as names and addresses used for correspondence but employee data too. Sensitive business information also needs to be given the same protection.

Is remote working compromising security standards?

Remote working has remained on the rise since the global pandemic changed the world as we knew it. There are considerable fears that employee data isn’t always getting the protection that it requires when remote work takes place. In the past, protection was largely focused on sensitive data such as payroll and HR records. However, the various platforms used to conduct business today such as instant messaging and video conferencing software have made data security even more challenging. These new communication and collaboration tools have raised sizeable concerns about data privacy.

Keeping customer data safe

There are many third-party tools and resources that can be used to protect customer data and help businesses remain compliant with laws. Many of these tools are delivered by providers who carry out much of the hard work linked to protection and security. Businesses must avoid storing customer data on spreadsheets and instead opt for more robust tools designed with a higher standard of security in mind. Although the tools referred to above may be great for small businesses dealing with customer data, big challenges around audio data and employee data remain.

Protecting employee data

Remote working has caused two major concerns around data. One of these is the fact that many home workers have insecure internet connections that are vulnerable to attacks. There are also big challenges around keeping individual employee data secure in shared office environments. Team members also need to be notified that some of their data will be retained as part of general business activity.

As millions of employees began to work from home for the first time in 2020, many businesses quickly drew up new policies and protocols to protect their data, such as two-factor authentication. However, employee data didn’t always receive quite the same level of protection during this period.

A new range of challenges

Before the home working boom got underway, data privacy was generally focused on one location. However, the way businesses are now operating means they face increasingly tough compliance challenges. Many businesses are legally obliged to store all the video interactions that take place during their day-to-day operations, yet lack the resources to do so. This means they are in dire need of specialist solutions that will enable them to do this, including long-term video archiving and initial capturing.

Businesses also need to ensure that the communications channels that they are using are being operated in a compliant manner. Larger companies generally have access to highly sophisticated eComms platforms, but this is not the case for many smaller businesses.

There are previous few solutions on the market that do enable smaller businesses to mine the audio and video that they are collecting. However, one resource that may help smaller businesses is Myna. This tool is designed to help companies access accurate, searchable records of meetings. This product is proving beneficial for individuals and companies based in a range of sectors and works with all leading video conferencing solutions including Teams and Zoom. Once recordings are saved, they can be moved to your Dropbox. A feature called SmartTranscript enables advanced searches of calls direct from email dashboards. This not only ensures compliance but delivers quick access to recordings for call participants.

Which legislation do I need to comply with?

Data privacy laws are constantly subject to change as technology evolves and new requirements are needed. Those seeking detailed advice on data compliance can read guides from bodies such as the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”).

Major legislation related to employers’ rights around staff monitoring include the:

–                     Data Protection Act (DPA)

–                     The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000

–                     RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000)

The Data Protection Act is designed to help you protect your employees’, clients and customers’ details efficiently. All the personal data that you hold and collect on your customers and employees needs to be securely stored. Access to this data should only be given to those that genuinely require it. You also need to ensure people are informed whenever you are collecting their data. It’s vital to do all you can to remain compliant with data laws to maintain confidence in your business, avoid tough penalties and retain the confidence of your customers and employees. Data protection remains important for all sorts of reasons, from fraud prevention to compliance and maintaining the credibility and integrity of your business.

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