66% of Workers Risk Breaching GDPR by Printing Work-Related Docs at Home

Two-thirds of remote workers risk potentially breaching GDPR guidelines by printing out work-related documents at home, according to a new study from Go Shred.

The confidential shredding and records management company discovered that 66% of home workers have printed work-related documents since they began working from home, averaging five documents every week. Such documents include meeting notes/agendas (42%), internal documents including procedure manuals (32%), contracts and commercial documents (30%) and receipts/expense forms (27%).

Furthermore, 20% of home workers admitted to printing confidential employee information including payroll, addresses and medical information, with 13% having printed CVs or application forms.

The issue is that, to comply with the GDPR, all companies that store or process personal information about EU citizens within EU states are required to have an effective, documented, auditable process in place for the collection, storage and destruction of personal information.

However, when asked whether they have disposed of any printed documents since working from home, 24% of respondents said they haven’t disposed of them yet as they plan to take them back to the office and a further 24% said they used a home shredding machine but disposed of the documents in their own waste. This method of disposal is not recommended due to personal waste bins not providing enough security for confidential waste and therefore still leaving employers open to a data breach and potential fines, Go Shred pointed out.

Most concerning of all, 8% of those polled said they have no plans to dispose of the work-related documents they have printed at home, with 7% saying they haven’t done so because they do not know how to.

Mike Cluskey, managing director at Go Shred, said: “Printing any documentation which includes personal information about employees or potential employees is a high risk activity as should this information get into the wrong hands, it could be used to impersonate someone.

“It’s quite shocking to see that so many home workers are printing items such as payroll and personal information like addresses. Even internal documents such as meeting notes and agendas can be risky, so extra precautions should be taken in order to dispose of these properly.”

It’s vital that business leaders review their current processes and educate their staff on the current guidelines, as working from home demands a different security standard than being in the office, especially with data security and disposing of confidential information, Cluskey added.

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