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It’s getting personal: Potential GDPR breach for employees who check work emails on personal mobiles out of the office

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Recent research has revealed that employees who check work emails on their personal phones could be in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The results show that 61% of UK workers who were surveyed use their personal devices to answer work emails or to continue working out of the office when they get home from work. A further 16% do the same on their lunch break. Whilst 14 million people have a work phone, 18% will use their personal phone during meetings and work trips and 14% continue to use their personal phone for work related matters as they find it more convenient.

Following the implementation of the GDPR in May 2018, businesses must now ensure that any data stored on employees’ phones is as secure as it would be if it was stored on the company server. Employers should therefore be cautious in allowing employees to use personal mobile phones to deal with work related matters outside of the office. The use of personal devices should only be authorised where the security of the data stored on the device can be guaranteed. Interestingly, and worryingly, approximately 46% of workers who were surveyed stated they were unsure of how GDPR would affect their personal mobiles.

Implications

Practically speaking, employers should implement mandatory, company wide, GDPR training for all employees to ensure they are aware of how to keep their own data and their clients’ data safe and secure. Employers should liaise with their IT department to ensure that any work related data stored on employees’ personal mobiles can be as secure as the data within company servers.