7 ways to protect employee privacy at work


Employers are responsible for protecting the privacy of their employees, whether it relates to their personal information or using online networks for work purposes. Typically, the primary concern of employers is knowing how to protect employee privacy at work.

It is impossible to fully ensure employee privacy, especially when using the Internet to connect with customers and suppliers. But you can take some necessary steps to protect them as much as possible. Although some loopholes can be left, you should at least have a system to identify and deter unrestricted access to your employees’ data and information.

In this article, you will find the best ways to protect employee privacy at work.

Why do employees need privacy protection in the workplace?

Each company collects the personal data of its employees, such as their address, telephone numbers, family data, medical history, etc. This information adds to the academic qualification and employment history of employees and is more vulnerable and sensitive. In accordance with privacy protection laws, companies and employers are responsible for protecting all personal and confidential data collected from their employees. And you can be sued in case of mishandling of this information.

In addition, employees often use the Internet for work purposes. Your devices and personal data are at risk due to phishing and malware activities. They need the protection of their personal information and they must have secure options.

The need for employee privacy has multiplied with the work-from-home scenario. Additionally, there is a significant increase in hiring of remote and virtual workforce, especially after COVID. And this calls for a greater need to protect employee privacy.

How to protect the privacy of employees at work?

Here are some ways that employers can protect the privacy of their employees in the workplace:

  • Transparent privacy policy

Every company should have a privacy policy that applies to all employees, whether internal or remote. the Privacy Policy You must clearly state what employee data is collected and retained for records. You should also mention the reason for the collection of this data. Finally, the policy must contain all the information about the storage, access and use of this personal information.

The privacy policy should describe all applicable laws for the protection of employee privacy and what actions the company will take in the event of a data breach.

  • Restricted access to personal data of employees

Keeping a record of employees’ personal data is essential for companies for different reasons. They are responsible for protecting this data with all measures. And for this reason, only restricted people should have access to employee information. It is essential to ensure that the data is secure and will not be used for unauthorized purposes. It is illegal to use employee data for any personal or commercial use without employee permission.

Aside from personal data in the company register, some other employee data is also at risk while in the workplace. Your data can be stolen directly from your devices through phishing and malware activities. Again, the employer is responsible for providing protected devices to its employees. Every device used in the workplace must be equipped with a firewall and up-to-date antivirus and antimalware software.

This involves all devices used by employees for work purposes. Whether they are owned by the company or owned by the employees. Protected devices are not essential to secure employee data only. They are also crucial for the protection of the company’s database.

It is recommended to opt for secure access to the company database to protect privacy. The company must assign a workplace identity to each employee that makes them anonymous on the network. Employees must log into the system with their company username. This would help protect your identity and data.

Using two-factor authentications is also a good idea to protect employee privacy. For example, this ensures that no one has access to an employee’s workspace without their permission.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a proven way to protect your network. It encrypts all the incoming and outgoing information in the system, making it impossible for anyone to access it. It is essential to protect employee personal data and keeps it safe.

Furthermore, VPN also disguises the identity and location of users by allowing them to connect from an anonymous ID and a remote portal. Therefore, VPN is particularly essential for all remote employees accessing the company system from different locations.

All businesses and companies, regardless of their size, need to have their private Wi-Fi secure. It is essential for the protection of all personal and organizational data.

The unprotected and easily exposed Wi-Fi is an open invitation to all cybercriminals to attack the database and access confidential information. Therefore, businesses should opt for their secure private Wi-Fi. This secures your employees’ data and helps to monitor all tasks performed over the Internet. It also decreases system attacks through malware and phishing activities.

Employees in the workplace should have limited access to the Internet. This is both for your protection and the protection of the company. For example, many websites install cookies and gain access to the system without asking for consent. Similarly, some websites collect your location and other system information for commercial use. Access to all of these sites must be prohibited over a network in the workplace.

Also, social media sites are a great way to filter personal information. They are also time killers and keep employees busy with unproductive activities during work hours. Therefore, employees should be allowed limited use of the Internet in the workplace.

conclusion

Every employer is responsible for protecting the privacy of its employees. For that, you need to make sure to collect only the required information. And it protects it with restricted access. Additionally, you must provide secure devices and networks to your employees to ensure their privacy.

Image credit: provided by the author; pexels; Thank you!

Anas baig

Product Leader

With a passion for working on disruptive products, Anas Baig currently works as a product leader at Silicon Valley-based company Securiti. He has a degree in Computer Science from the University of Iqra and specializes in Information Security and Data Privacy.


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