The reality of today’s remote workforce is such that employees can kick back at a co-working space or their favorite cafe and casually work on their project while enjoying a cappuccino. It sure sounds refreshing and liberating compared to the grinding in a stuffy corporate office. However, this scenario is in nonconformity with various security laws, including customer privacy regulations, nondisclosure agreements, and server security, exposing your entire informational framework to data breaches.
As Emma Heuston, Principal Lawyer at The Remote Expert in Australia rightly cautions,” As soon as you permit an employee or contractor to work outside of the office in any way, you need policies, procedures, and documentation in place to protect you. Without that framework of protection, you leave yourself open to miscommunication, litigation, and risk.”
Some of the most relevant insights about privacy rights in the remote workplace include compliance with remote workplace monitoring, surveillance norms, and documentation rights. Let’s dive straight into some of these insights in detail.
WORKPLACE MONITORING IS AN EMPLOYER’S RIGHT
Remote workplace monitoring is the right of an employer against issues like data breaches, infringement of company privacy policies, and potential cases of data loss.
The right of monitoring comes with several limitations, including obtaining the consent of the employees, the notification of surveillance, with specified limits of the monitored areas. Consent is a basic factor, and it needs to be addressed before the process of monitoring.
Telecommuters or remote workers hold a right to be aware of the risks, company privacy and security policy, guidelines, monitoring process information, and several other essential privacy rights. Employees should be notified about the entire monitoring process and the scope of the process, along with exceptional extensions.
Consent of an employee for the monitoring of his/her remote workplace setup does not mean that there are no specified limits of monitoring. There are specific laws that deal with the security of an individual’s privacy in a telecommute environment.
PRIVACY RIGHTS ARE NOT PRESENT ACROSS ALL COUNTRIES AND STATES
Some countries like the US, UK, and the territories in the European Union have special laws that protect the rights of people involved in telecommuting or remote work setups. However, states like Ohio have no specific laws to deal with privacy and security breaches concerning remote working. There are significant differences in the legal regulations across different countries concerning telecommuting aspects such as monitoring, consent, and the contents which can be monitored.
The Ohio Wiretap Law prohibits the “intentional interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication,” this does not really apply to the employers since security issues are more serious for an organization.
RIGHT OF DOCUMENTATION
An organization that employs freelancers or telecommuters has the right to conduct a legal documentation process wherein all company guidelines regarding the using and sharing of company data, the privacy and security policies of the company are shared with the employee prior to his/her official joining.
Additionally, some companies can ask the employees or telecommuters to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which prohibits them from sharing any information regarding the trade secrets of the company, customer data, or any potential information which could result in any sort of data breaches.
Since the protection of data is the liability of the organization, internal policies can be made for the protection of such data. Also, it is the responsibility of an organization to retrieve any data, which is lost/sold/or illegally shared with anyone. Non-disclosure agreements help the organization in the process of avoiding and recovering from data breaches.
AN EMPLOYER IS LIABLE FOR SECURITY AND DATA BREACHES
Based on recent regulations and case laws, organizations are fundamentally responsible for the protection of its own data and the data of its customers, and if remote working employees or independent contractors commit data breach, then the company/organization is held vicariously liable.
Logically, the Privacy Acts in countries like Australia puts forth the responsibility of protecting data by preventive measures, and if the organization fails to fulfill the responsibility, then the organization is liable for all damages. This indirectly provides a right of defense to telecommute employees against any cases of a data breach, deliberate or non-intentional.
RIGHTS OF A REMOTE WORKER ASSOCIATED WITH THE RIGHT OF MONITORING BY AN EMPLOYER
Social media accounts, email conversations are particularly out of regular monitoring access of the organizations, since it tends to violate the right of privacy that a remote worker has. An organization/employer cannot collect data from personal chats or conversations unless the employer obtains a judicial authorization for the same.
ORGANIZATIONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO FORM INTERNAL POLICIES FOR THE PROTECTION OF DATA AND PRIVACY
The employer gets to formulate security policies and guidelines for the protection of privacy and data security of the company. Companies get to decide what they want to share with the employees and what they don’t. Information about trade secrets, login credentials to admin versions of a product, website or applications are also not shared to avoid any cases of cybersecurity breaches. Detailed company information is also not shared without non-disclosure agreements because it can pose a significant threat to the privacy rights of a company.
Since companies have their own internal policies, they can raise restrictions on the use of personal devices (many companies provide their own devices and networking setups to the telecommuters). These policies may even ask for the use of specific virtual private network VPN to protect user privacy.
REMOTEDESK DELIVERS DATA PROTECTION AND PRIVACY
Remote working has a huge potential to benefit businesses, but firms usually struggle to effectively manage and monitor their workforce. Remotedesk by Verificient is the only automatic monitoring solution that securely identifies and safeguards the privacy of work-from-home agents. It deters any malicious insider breaches and delivers a true “Clean Desk Environment” to facilitate and secure remote work.
Remotedesk uses sophisticated facial recognition software to proactively verify and monitor remote workers. Let’s check out a few features that make Remotedesk the perfect solution for privacy and security issues-
- Ideal for PCI, HIPAA and PHI Compliance
- Guidelines and policies can be customized by managers, HRs, and other decision-makers.
- Multi-form factor authentication ensures conduct and integrity by making sure that only authorized agents gain access to critical data.
- Flags, sorts, and records any compliance violations with screen-shot evidence & time-stamped video playback.
- Screen redaction, access restriction for breaks and deletion of downloaded files by the end of work.
- Intervention by live supervisors in case of policy breaches.
Security and privacy have become central in today’s age of internet and big data. Companies have to watch out for threats before venturing into uncharted legal territory. Teleworking is now perceived as a means to transform the future of doing business and with a steep rise in the number of remote workers, organizations have to strengthen their regulatory standards to avoid unfortunate breaches. Remotedesk is a solution that certainly stands up to the challenge of delivering a true clean desk environment while continuously verifying work-at-home agents. Implementing policies and monitoring remote employees was a task on its own, until now.