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.
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Photo of Dan Cooper Dan Cooper

Daniel Cooper is co-chair of Covington’s Data Privacy and Cyber Security Practice, and advises clients on information technology regulatory and policy issues, particularly data protection, consumer protection, AI, and data security matters. He has over 20 years of experience in the field, representing…

Daniel Cooper is co-chair of Covington’s Data Privacy and Cyber Security Practice, and advises clients on information technology regulatory and policy issues, particularly data protection, consumer protection, AI, and data security matters. He has over 20 years of experience in the field, representing clients in regulatory proceedings before privacy authorities in Europe and counseling them on their global compliance and government affairs strategies. Dan regularly lectures on the topic, and was instrumental in drafting the privacy standards applied in professional sport.

According to Chambers UK, his “level of expertise is second to none, but it’s also equally paired with a keen understanding of our business and direction.” It was noted that “he is very good at calibrating and helping to gauge risk.”

Dan is qualified to practice law in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium. He has also been appointed to the advisory and expert boards of privacy NGOs and agencies, such as Privacy International and the European security agency, ENISA.

Photo of Kristof Van Quathem Kristof Van Quathem

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty…

Kristof Van Quathem advises clients on information technology matters and policy, with a focus on data protection, cybercrime and various EU data-related initiatives, such as the Data Act, the AI Act and EHDS.

Kristof has been specializing in this area for over twenty years and developed particular experience in the life science and information technology sectors. He counsels clients on government affairs strategies concerning EU lawmaking and their compliance with applicable regulatory frameworks, and has represented clients in non-contentious and contentious matters before data protection authorities, national courts and the Court of the Justice of the EU.

Kristof is admitted to practice in Belgium.

Photo of Anna Oberschelp de Meneses Anna Oberschelp de Meneses

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate…

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate international data protection law projects.  She has obtained a certificate for “corporate data protection officer” by the German Association for Data Protection and Data Security (“Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V.”). She is also Certified Information Privacy Professional Europe (CIPPE/EU) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Anna also advises companies in the field of EU consumer law and has been closely tracking the developments in this area.  Her extensive language skills allow her to monitor developments and help clients tackle EU Data Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Law issues in various EU and ROW jurisdictions.