In order to combat the proliferation of COVID-1, several EU Member States have strongly recommended or required that employees engage in teleworking, rather than attend work as normal. In this context, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (“ENISA”), on March 15, 2020, issued its “top tips for cybersecurity when working remotely”. Some data protection Supervisory Authorities also have issued guidance on this topic.

Below we provide a list of available guidance issued by ENISA and the EU data Supervisory Authorities and a summary of the security measures they recommend.

Guidance on cybersecurity when working remotely

Main recommendations

  • Comply with an employer’s IT security policies.
  • Protect devices and documents containing personal data from unauthorized access (e.g., store documents in locked drawers and lock doors to work spaces, if possible).
  • Lock the screen of devices before leaving them unattended.
  • Take care not to lose hardware (e.g., USB sticks) and documents.
  • Where possible, use the file system offered by your employer and do not save documents locally. When storing data locally, make sure that the device or file are encrypted.
  • Beware of using free cloud storage or email services which may use data for marketing purpose, sell data and may not be appropriately protected.
  • Use primarily business email accounts. If that is not possible, make sure that the content and attachments are properly encrypted.
  • Before sending an email, verify the recipient is the one who is intended.
  • Avoid communicating on social media with colleagues about sensitive business issues.
  • Be careful when using (video) chat services for conversations in which you discuss sensitive data. Preferably, use any available secure means of communication (e.g., phone).
  • Take confidential calls in closed rooms without unauthorized individuals being present.
  • Use effective access controls (such as multi-factor authentication and strong passwords) and, where available, encryption.
  • Do not use insecure Wi-Fi connections.
  • If possible, use an encrypted VPN to connect to company servers.
  • Use updated software (including anti-virus software).
  • Back-up data regularly to prevent data loss.
  • Report any security incident as soon as possible to the employer.
  • Dispose of data securely (e.g., shred it in small pieces).
  • Beware of phishing emails.
  • Do not install software on your computer from unknown sources.