Data Protection and Remote Working Survey

(19 May 2021)

Speaking about data protection, a theme that is very topical at present, Michael Kavanagh, CEO of Association of Compliance Officers Ireland (ACOI), said: “We recently undertook a survey to understand the current data protection risks facing companies and found that remote working and the threat of cyber-attacks are the number one data protection concerns for 65% of Irish companies in 2021.The survey of more than 250 ACOI member organisations, comprised chiefly of compliance leaders employed in large financial organisations, revealed that the mobile workforce arrangements, necessitated by the pandemic since last year, have left employers feeling increasingly vulnerable to data protection breaches.

It is absolutely clear from this survey that remote working is a major issue facing firms this year when it comes to data protection, with 34% of businesses voicing their concerns around the risks associated with it.

Given how intertwined the two things are it is perhaps unsurprising that risk of cyber-attack was cited by 31% of respondents as the biggest concern. Indeed, the two are not mutually exclusive, with remote working increasing organisations’ vulnerability to attacks.

Since the start of the pandemic, many organisations have had to reassess their data security systems to adapt to new levels of cyber risk to internal assets and data, and we would urge that any that have yet to do so, to move with some immediacy to rise to the data protection challenges of an off-site workforce.

In addition, 89% of those surveyed agreed that risks of cyber-attack have increased since the commencement of home working.”