Digital Work Culture And Its Security- Where We Stand!!!

It is one thing for an organization to allow its employees to work from home on an emergency situation and its whole lot of other thing to completely shift the work base to a work from home culture when the emergency is not going to vanish anytime soon. Such is today’s time in pandemic where majority industry people are working from home and this makes organization or employers at greater risk of protecting their data. When the whole world is moving towards a digital work culture, irrespective of current pandemic, it is of utmost importance to protect the data of the company by the company. The burden on employees is to secure the data and information through Confidentiality (without leaking the data outside the organization, Integrity (without corrupting/ changing the data) and Availability (tools available to secure data).

Now the question is how to protect and secure data and information especially in a country like India where there is no specific law on data protection except few sections of the Indian Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 i.e., Section 43A where a body corporate who is possessing, dealing or handling any sensitive personal data or information, and is negligent in implementing and maintaining reasonable security practices resulting in wrongful loss or wrongful gain to any person, then such body corporate may be held liable to pay damages to the person so affected and Section 72A where disclosure of information, knowingly and intentionally, without the consent of the person concerned and in breach of the lawful contract has been also made punishable with imprisonment and fine. Even the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices And Procedures And Sensitive Personal Data Or Information) Rules, 2011 limits the applicability of the Rule to any Body corporate or any person located within India. But these laws/ rules doesn’t cover data protection holistically.

So, the need of the hour is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to be implemented in India. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. The regulation was put into effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR will levy harsh fines against those who violate its privacy and security standards, with penalties reaching into the tens of millions of euros. In this technological era and time, though GDPR has been accepted by many countries around the world but India is one amongst the exceptions where it still need to be implemented.

So till now the information was about how to protect information or data legally, the implementation of which is not in the hand of a common person but the government. So, what can be done by a common person or an organization or a company to make digital work culture more secure. Although we appreciate or not we are slowly shifting towards Digital work culture and due to internet the whole world has been connected. Now if any Indian corporate wants to meet a foreign delegate, it happens through online meeting with the help of numerous softwares such as Zoom, Blue jeans, Google meet, to name a few. Even to store data many few corporates keep hardcopies of files rest are dependent on cloud storage. Digital work culture is and will surely take a toll on both Employers and Employees.

The basic plan could be:

Infrastructure availability and security for workers implying there should be proper set up of data centers well connected and available to workers at their home ensuring its security, theft and prevention, etc.

Workers productivity assessed and reviewed time and again as the productivity might fluctuate due to the sudden shift of work culture so should be the assessment.

However, corporates can also make three tiered action plan to secure data for long term and short term period.

For Long term:

  • Effective crisis response and management
  • Work from home guidelines
  • Institutionalize insider threat analytics
  • Strengthen security operations centre (SOC)
  • Privilege user access management

For Short term:

  • Secure VPN
  • Identity management
  • Endpoint security
  • Employee awareness
  • Frequent patching

In a nutshell, all can be put to one phrase that Data Security is must and need of the hour especially in India.

Author: Aswathi Nair, Associate, at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys.  In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at aswathi@khuranaandkhurana.com.

References:

[1] IT Act, 2000

[2]https://gdpr.eu/what-is-gdpr/

[3]Webinar on Digital 2020- Business Continuity for Corporates amidst COVID-19 by Morison SCV consulting Pvt Ltd

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