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No matter if you’re the head of a large multinational or a lone entrepreneur, you’re still liable to uphold the rules set by GDPR.
The ICO (The governing body responsible for GDPR) hand out fines to smaller companies and individuals as well as large ones, so even if you’re self-employed, you’re still required to follow the rules! Some fines for small businesses or individuals have been in the thousands, and in rare cases meant a criminal record when vulnerable adults or children’s data is involved.
With this in mind, here are the ways you can protect your home office in line with the ICO and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines quickly!
Before You Start: Assess Your Situation
It’s important that you understand and know the type of data that you’re holding. After all, how will you know what needs protecting?
You also need to match your current processes, tools, and procedures (or lack of) with the GDPR guidelines to see where you need to tighten security! So, before you do anything, assess where your home office is as far as compliance! (baring in mind that if you don’t you’re liable to fines, even if you’re an individual or micro entity!)
Need help doing this? We’ve created an easy self-assessment template to help you! Simply work your way down the list and you’ll have an actionable guide to what you need to work on!
According to the ICO, you should ensure that you:
“can restore access to personal data in the event of any incidents, such as by establishing an appropriate backup process.”
If you aren’t sure how to back up files on your computer, the exact process will depend on the type of computer you use.
All critical information has to be encrypted. According to ICO, a part of meeting their checklist means to “use encryption and/or pseudonymisation where it is appropriate.”
One way you can do this is to be careful when you’re working through email. To correctly encrypt this information, you’ll want to make sure that you’re encrypting individual files individually rather than relying on encryption for full systems, such as computers or email servers.
Protecting Personal Data
Similarly to pseudonymisation, the ICO and GDPR also require that you “understand the requirements of confidentiality, integrity, and availability for the personal data we process.”
This means that you need to make sure that any personal information that you get from your clients stays safely in your grasp. The best way to do this is to have a secure system for your home office both physically and via cybersecurity. This includes steps such as securing your wireless network.
Having a Security Policy
Another security concern of the ICO is to “have an information security policy (or equivalent) and take steps to make sure the policy is implemented.”
In other words, you need to make sure that you have a personal security policy and ensure that you follow that for all the sensitive information you have on hand. You can follow these steps to create a security policy of your own for your home office.
Be Prepared For a Breach!
Did you know that you only have 72 hours to report a data breach to the ICO or the consequences are MUCH worse? It’s important to note that not every breach needs to be reported – BUT every breach needs to be RECORDED.
Which means you need to write a report either way detailing the breach. You also need to retain this for a minimum of 5 years (but this could be extended).
How are you supposed to write an entire report and submit it within 72 hours (as well as deal with the fallout of the breach)?
We’ve got you covered with that as well with our GDPR & Data Protection Report Template below:
Review and Repair
Another condition that the ICO puts on their checklist is to “regularly review our information security policies and measures and, where necessary, improve them.” In other words, it’s crucial to check and ensure that every step you’ve taken to protect your home office is still in place and effective.
To follow this guideline, you’ll want to make sure you periodically revisit the ICO checklist and ensure that your home office is still up-to-date and protected.
By following these steps, you can make sure that you keep your home office in line with GDPR compliances!