Using personal devices for work purposes

SmartphoneThe Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in UK have highlighted a worrying lack of guidance from employers on use of personal devices for work or business which may put people’s personal information at risk. Apparently, personal devices such as personal laptop, tablet computer or smartphone are increasingly being used for work purposes but very little guidance is provided by employers about how these devices should be used for work and in particular to ensure compliance with data protection legislation.

The ICO have recently published guidance of the risks that organisations need to consider when allowing personal devices to be used for work purposes that involve processing of personal data. ‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) is what this use of personal devices for work is commonly referred to and it is also the name of the guidance booklet which is downloadable from the ICO website. Although this guidance is aimed at larger organisations many dance teachers who are self-employed or work in very small businesses will find it worthwhile to read the booklet and consider their own use of personal devices for work. It is essential that we continue to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 when using personal devices to store or process personal data. This includes how data may be shared via email which many dance teachers use on their smartphone or other personal devices.

Some of the risks of BYOD concern the potential for data leakage and how to deal with loss, theft or failure and support of a device. Although we may not see a direct connection here to independent dance teachers we do need to be aware of how we process (and look after) the data of the people we teach. Dance teachers who work for bigger organisations may find that policies are tightened up or changed concerning BYOD.

Being data aware will help to ensure that we do not put data we are entrusted with at risk.