THE NATIONAL Privacy Commission (NPC) has released guidelines for data security for work-from-home (WFH) operations, encouraging institutions to use only authorized software and organization-issued devices.

The NPC on Friday said in a statement that public and private organizations should ensure personal data protection as WFH measures will likely remain as part of the “new normal” in managing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

The commission said organizations should issue computers and information communications technology resources like USB flash drives, and use personal devices only if providing organization-issued resources is impractical.

“Such practice, however, must be governed by the organization’s Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) policy.”

Organizations have been implementing WFH measures since the start of the enhanced community quarantine that limits the number of workers allowed for on-site operations, with some companies retaining these measures even after restrictions have relaxed.

The NPC also encourages the use of authorized software and video conferencing, discouraging the storing of digital files in external services and software. The commission reminded organizations that they should have security updates on devices, including antivirus scanning and operating system security patches.

Web browsers, the commission said, should be up-to-date and properly configured. The NPC encourages private browsing, disabling password autofill, preventing tracking, and checking password exposure breaches and control permissions on internet browsers.

When using home-based WiFi, the NPC said to ensure reliable internet connection and to avoid visiting malicious web pages. The commission also recommended creating private workspaces at home to avoid accidental viewing from others.

The NPC said WFH should be given the same level of data protection ensured by the Data Privacy Act for the measures to remain sustainable.

“Given the public health emergency (PHE) that the country faces, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) supports the adoption of the WFH setup as a viable strategy to balance the need to preserve the health and well-being of an organization’s workforce with the need to continuously operate and provide services to the public,” Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said. — Jenina P. Ibañez