From home-based sole proprietorships to the largest multinational corporations, we can’t think of a business that hasn’t been disrupted in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, the primary concern is the health and safety of the company’s workforce, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. But what about data security risks?
There are a number of COVID-related risks that businesses can face during the pandemic. In a recent post, we gave you “4 Tips for Practising Work-From-Home Data Security”. Data security is a constant business risk that requires renewed vigilance to ensure protection while staff works from home during the pandemic.
Still, whether or not employees work from home, there are other data security risks that businesses of all sizes should be aware of, and take measures to prevent.
COVID-Related Data Security Risks
Again, while personal health and safety must be the primary concern, other COVID-related risks can pose serious threats to your business.
Employee Health Information
All the personal information of an employee is sensitive and must be protected, including medical information. The health risks we all face due to COVID-19 may not be directly related to the coronavirus. For example, employees who are concerned about infection, their job security or the health of loved ones can face mental health issues, including stress, anxiety and depression. When combined with increased instances of working from home, it all adds up to more potential exchanges and exposure of employee health information that can be damaging to your company.
Malicious phishing attacks have increased since the COVID quarantine began. Some have involved perpetrators posing as government representatives offering information or help in receiving COVID-related financial aid for companies and individuals. Other scams include emails and texts, allegedly from senior corporate officers, asking for sensitive personal or financial information due to COVID-19.
In all cases, employees’ guards may be down, especially if they are outside of the corporate bubble of the workplace, and the risk of a data breach is heightened.
This is another area that is a constant risk for businesses, but one that is heightened during the pandemic due to increased turnover and more unexpected departures.
What Your Company Can Do
In all cases, increased awareness of data security is key. Make sure everyone is aware of and understands your data security policies. This can include added training, regular reminders and ensuring that your online data security and paper shredding policies are followed.
To learn more about the importance of data security, check out our recent post “How Data Breaches Affect Companies”.