We’ve reached a new checkpoint in Boris’s Covid roadmap. Yesterday, non-essential shops reopened, and many flocked to their local pub to enjoy a pint outside. For many, yesterday also marked their first day back in the office. While teaching staff have been back for a few weeks now, for others the full time return to the office is just happening. While returning to the office is cause for celebration, we should also take the opportunity to renew our data protection vigilance. 

Many organisations have used lockdown as an opportunity to reshuffle the office. Speaking from experience, it can be a little jarring when you come back to work and find your desk in a whole new place! 


Separating Work and Home Life


It’s important to acknowledge that changes like this can leave people a little uncertain, and that working away from the office can lead to lapses in data protection practices. Now is a good time to check staff still have the little things in place, such as locking computers when they leave their desk., It’s important to remember that not all information is suitable for sharing with colleagues, particularly if you’re in an office with people from different teams. 

Now is also a good time to check your digital distancing. Lockdown compressed our work lives and personal lives into a single space. Now, much like social distancing, we need to make sure we leave enough space between those two lives, that data can’t cross from one to the other. While working from home, you may have had to use your own devices, or store things in personal drawers in your house. Now we have access to the office again, take a few moments to assess your home workspace. Have you left any paperwork at home? Do you still have access to work emails and files on your home computer? 

Another common occurrence in lockdown has been the use of personal mobiles for business related tasks. We’ve talked previously about some of the dangers of this, but for many, it has seemed like the only choice to keep organisations running smoothly. Now we can return to our usual methods of communication, it might be best to close down any work WhatsApp or Messenger groups, as they greatly increase the risk of a data breach. 

Moving Forwards Safely


 It’s wonderful to be back in the office, and it’s wonderful to see colleagues face to face, albeit from a safe distance. It might take a little while for things to feel normal again, but hopefully this is a permanent step towards ‘Business as Usual’.  As we move forward along the Covid roadmap, we can start getting excited for holidays and weddings, as well as indoor sport and museums. However, we should also keep a careful eye on our behaviour, so our excitement isn’t dampened by a data breach and its consequences. 

And on that note, may we move cautiously, but optimistically, to May 17th, the next step in our journey to normality.