In today’s world, where technology is accessible and theft is on the rise, workers’ privacy protection is more significant than ever. Most companies store employee data, including personal information, and employers are liable to protect their privacy. Otherwise, they have to prepare for lawsuits in case of mishandled information.
Moreover, employees need access to the internet. With that in mind, personal data and valuable assets are at risk of being stolen. Employers must ensure people feel safe and secure at work. Here’s how.
1. Understand Privacy Rights
Employers always have a chance of overstepping the boundaries of employee privacy. After all, 62% of companies collect data and monitor online activity to ensure workers are productive. For instance, they might check things like time spent on an email or even listen in on workplace conversations.
However, privacy laws are limited to how employers analyze these forms of data — especially if a policy is in place. Essentially when an employee uses company equipment, they forfeit their privacy.
Companies should be aware of the legal issues regarding privacy regulations. For instance, the ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) prevents employers from listening to conversations on employee phone calls. However, they do have the right to monitor phone calls between employees and clients.
Managers should research what privacy laws are applicable to prevent any misunderstanding. They should then devise a plan on where the organization stands on privacy if issues arise.
2. Tint Company Car Windows
Tinted windows are excellent for cooling down the car’s interior and reducing sun glare, and they’re also great for adding privacy. Many employees that drive work vehicles feel more comfortable when people can’t see who’s in the driver’s seat. Furthermore, workers that travel with valuables are more secure with tinted windows.
Unfortunately, many people peek into parked cars looking for valuable items to steal. Tinted windows prevent thieves from seeing what’s inside. Therefore, they’re less likely to steal.
Companies should consider tinting company car windows but be wary of laws against modifications in their state. A 5% tint is almost always illegal and much darker than a 50% tint. It’s best to find a range that serves its purpose but is still within legal limits.
The policy should explain how employee privacy is protected and the potential for monitoring company property use. It must also clearly state what data is collected, how it’s stored and why. It should also include an outline of the privacy laws applicable to workers — and what degrees the company will take in case of a data breach.
4. Protect Work Devices
Employee data can also be at risk online. Cybercriminals may have the chance to steal their personal information from devices via malware and phishing activity. In fact, 1,862 data breaches occurred last year.
The employer is liable for device protection in these situations.
It doesn’t matter if employees use a company or personal device for work. Each item should have a firewall and antivirus and anti-malware software for protection. This is crucial for employees’ data protection and also helps secure the company’s database.
5. Support Workers’ Privacy at Home
Remote employees should have a designated workspace at home. This keeps their personal lives separated and ensures privacy during online meetings. Dedicating an area in the house for work helps prevent distractions and guarantees families are never displayed online.
Organizations should allow team members to turn off cameras during meetings if having a designated workspace isn’t possible.
6. Set up a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is a secure way of protecting remote employees’ data. Its encryption prevents unauthorized users from accessing personal information within the system. VPNs allow companies to keep employee data hidden and anonymous.
In fact, more people have started using VPNs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the U.S., VPN usage increased by 124% over two weeks in March 2020.
VPN proves to be useful for remote employees — especially if they’re accessing a company’s database from various locations. Plus, it’s easier for IT members to manage scattered workers since VPNs rely on dedicated servers.
7. Limit Internet Access
Many companies may find their employees will use the internet for personal reasons during work hours. For example, employees may check their social media, shop online or read the news.
While some employers are comfortable with moderate internet use for personal reasons, too much leeway can lead to compromise. After all, websites can store cookies and access information without user consent.
That’s why companies must limit how much access an employee has to the internet. For instance, employers can establish limitations on certain sites inappropriate in a workplace setting. That way, they can reduce the chance for personal information to be leaked.
8. Offer Cybersecurity Training
Organizations must do everything they can to ensure their employees’ protection. However, some responsibility falls on the worker regarding how they exercise caution and handle themselves online. Cybersecurity training should be mandatory to ensure the whole team knows how to be safe, and employers should continuously update it. That way, people will know what to do when they encounter an attack.
Most online security training is a commonplace practice for IT professionals. However, companies still have the challenge of educating employees on a larger scale. Plus, workers must be aware of the risks to support their privacy efforts.
One way to coordinate cybersecurity training is by partnering with the IT department to raise awareness. Leaders should stress the importance of employee privacy and discuss tactics to remain secure.
9. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
Maximize employee privacy protection by requiring two-factor authentication for company accounts. Utilizing this setting prevents hackers from attaining log-in credentials and stealing sensitive information.
Two-factor authentication is simple. It requires an employee to verify their identity when logging into an account. Once they enter the password, they’ll enter a short code sent via text or email before gaining access to the account.
Even though it’s an extra step, this feature minimizes risk and offers more privacy for employees than a standard log-in method.
Securing Employee Privacy
Every company should protect employee privacy, especially since various laws governing it are in place. Utilize and implement these tips to enhance workplace security. That way, employees can feel safe and companies can avoid lawsuits.