The COVID-19 pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including the way processes and operations are conducted within the workplace. However, it is just as important as ever to consider data security and compliance.

Today, data security proves to be an increasingly concerning issue, with large numbers of breaches being attempted, and this has not changed in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, a fact that businesses must not ignore. To help reinforce this business mind-set, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has published an open letter to UK businesses detailing what they should expect from the ICO in the following months.

According to Ms Denham, the ICO will “continue prioritising practical advice that supports you through both the pandemic and recovery period.” She says that they will also strive to offer continued support to any organisations looking to make a change, or work more innovatively.

The ICO recognises that even in the face of a pandemic, organisations will be taking measures to strive and work to their optimum success levels. To do this, the ICO offers an information hub aimed at SMEs, alongside accountability and data sharing guidance.

The ICO’s top priority will continue to be ensuring that organisations comply with the law. They work with organisations to make any necessary changes while still making sure that they are lawful, as according to Ms Denham, “this is the most effective way of reducing mistakes and misuse of people’s data.” For example, the ICO is working with supermarkets and public authorities so they can use shared information to support those who have been having to shield throughout the pandemic.

Pragmatic approach

In the letter, Ms Denham states that the ICO will “always have a role in bringing to task those organisations that willfully ignore the rules, or fail to take responsibility for their actions.” However, as the current focus resides around the economy and organisations’ recovery, ICO’s approach will “adjust to take account of increasing operational resilience.” Therefore, the ICO has recently made updates to its regulatory approach document, as they have been informed by specific organisations telling them about their own capacities. The Information Commissioner described this as “another step towards returning to our approach before Covid-19, but with the caveats and exceptions that reflect today’s realities.”

According to Ms Denham, the ICO will not be changing their “pragmatic approach and commitment to supporting organisations to protect people’s information rights.” You can read the letter in full here.

Here at Tier 1, we have recently launched a remote data wiping service which is convenient and cost-effective for the large numbers of the population now working from home. We can ensure that your business can continue with your secure IT refresh plans, even without staff being in the office. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further advice.

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