Specific procedures are currently underway to help combat the spread of COVID-19. However, these measures are now raising numerous questions regarding the practicality and impact of the current efforts in preventing the spread of the pandemic.
Having been recorded in more than 100 countries and territories, with over 120,000 cases reported around the world, and over 4000 deaths, people must practice appropriate social distancing to stop and slow down the spread of the disease.
And while data security is not the primary concern, in the light of much more severe global threats posed by the virus, companies worldwide are keen to understand their specific obligations with regards to this issue and how it can be adequately addressed. For instance, can companies ask their employees about their travel plans? Can companies request their personnel to undergo medical examinations or submit to medical procedures to check their body temperature?
From a UK Data Protection perspective, asking and processing these questions would involve delving into the personal data of the employees. In order for companies to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018/GDPR, any firm that wants to do so, must have a lawful basis under Article 6 of the Data Protection law to gather and treat such data, before processing the information.
One of the biggest potential disruptions has been the sudden crash of foreign and domestic travel and the rise of remote workers, as companies across the world are grappling with steps in safeguarding the health and security of their employees, while also battling technology and data security risks.
Avoiding data breaches in the age of COVID-19
Almost every individual today, be it an organization or an individual, is receiving a barrage of data regarding the Coronavirus. In times like this, it can help to remember that stressful situations may have people with ill intentions wanting to take advantage of the situation. In this regard, cyber-security attacks, data breaches, phishing emails and scams are currently on the rise. These malicious entities are finding new ways to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and cause data breaches. Hence, every individual must remain vigilant for such events related to the spread of the disease.
Hackers could send emails with malicious attachments or links to spoofed websites to unsuspecting victims which result in them disclosing confidential data or donating to non-existent charities or causes. Besides, hackers may also try to steal information from organizations by stealing login information from genuine employees and infiltrating the internal network system. This is why it is vital for employers to remind their personnel, both working in the office setting and working in remote locations to be vigilant against data breach attacks.
Here are some precautions that employees can take to protect their corporate information assets:
- Do not click on any links that come in unsolicited emails. Be wary of all kinds of attachments to emails.
- Visit only trusted sources, such as legitimate and authentic government websites for updated and fact-based data regarding the pandemic.
- Do not disclose personal credentials or financial data in emails, survey reports or links. Avoid responding to email solicitations that ask for donations or your financial information.
- Verify the authenticity of a charitable organization before you donate.
- Look into these insights provided by the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency [CISA] on risk management for COVID-19.
It is crucial that companies and individuals who have become the targets and victims of phishing schemes must be prepared to act swiftly and determine if a data breach has taken place. In the event of a data breach, exact steps must be taken to curtail the potential harm to not only the organization but also customers and employees.
And while there are numerous data security tools available to protect PDF files and documents from online theft, leakages, copying and fraud, a proven and comprehensive antitheft and data security technology that continues to be a proven and robust proactive solution is digital rights management (DRM).
From safeguarding and protecting your intellectual property, training material, courses, products documentation, manuals, e-books, PDF files and various other confidential information, digital rights protection provides an enhanced document security solution. With the help of document retention policies,it can enable you to comply with different regulatory requirements by tightly controlling how documents are accessed and used and automatically removing access once a certain timeframe has passed. DRM can protect your confidential and revenue generating documents from piracy and misuse, ensuring your company retains full control over its most important assets in this difficult time.
This can be an ideal solution in a scenario where a strange and unknown pandemic that has rocked the world can cause instabilities in various areas, including data security.
And while government agencies, insurance companies, medical providers are rushing to provide new measures to efficiently and effectively contain the spread of the disease and provide care for those in need, there is also an equal and urgent need to avoid large-scale data and cybersecurity breaches.