One thing that puts so many people off outsourcing business tasks like data processing to Virtual Assistants is concerns over data security. How will a Virtual Assistant keep sensitive information safe? How can you be sure that data protection regulations are being followed?

This is entirely understandable. Being the victim of stolen, lost or leaked data could be detrimental for you and the reputation of your business, meaning you need to know that your Virtual Assistant of choice is going above and beyond to ensure your data is 100% secure at all times.

Here at The Edwards Company, we believe that the security of your data should never have to be a concern at all, and it certainly shouldn’t be what deters you from embarking on your VA journey. That’s why we put steadfast and multi-layered security procedures in place to work with your data effectively and, most importantly, securely. For example, we are ICO registered, fully insured with Hiscox and registered with HMRC for AML.

To reassure you further, we thought we’d run through some data security FAQs.

 

  1. How will my VA use my sensitive data?

In short, we, as Virtual Assistants, are data processors, an external organisation providing data entry support for your business. Data processing involves collecting, recording, storing, using, analysing and disclosing data, and pretty much anything else you can do with a dataset!

When you require us to support you with data entry tasks, we’ll only do what you ask us to with the data. You’ll be able to give us access to the datasets you want us to work with while restricting access to others. Where our different services are concerned, like credit control, for example, we will require access to personal data for making calls, sending out emails, and raising invoices. Again, this data will only be used for this purpose and nothing more.

If you require us to store your data, it will be done so securely and in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). If you don’t require us to store your data, it will be disposed of in the appropriate manner.

When you provide The Edwards Company with data of any kind, you can rest assured that it will be handled with the utmost care and be kept secure no matter what.

 

  1. Do I need to come to a Data Processing Agreement with my Virtual Assistant?

Absolutely. A Data Processing Agreement ensures that everyone is on the same page and aware of what they can and cannot do.

As Virtual Assistants, we strongly advise that you provide us with any already drawn-up data security policies to familiarise ourselves with how you use the data you have obtained. We can then mimic this in our own work, ensuring the exact same procedures are followed, and mistakes are avoided.

If the data tasks you’ve asked us to work with are particularly sensitive or just or need an added security boost, we can draw up confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements that will be signed by each Virtual Assistant assigned to your tasks.

keeping your data safe
  1. I’ve heard of VAs being ICO Registered. What does that mean for my data?

The ICO is the supervisory authority for data protection here in the UK. They can offer advice and guidance to services like ours on data security best practice and consistently monitor breach reports, conduct audits, monitor compliance, and take action where necessary.

Being ICO Registered is another added level of security to our data processing services. In addition to adherence to the General Data Protection Guidelines, it ensures that the correct data processing procedures designed to keep your data secure are being implemented correctly at all times.

 

  1. I need to give passwords to my Virtual Assistant. Is this safe?

Of course, there will be times when you need to give your Virtual Assistant access to certain digital areas of your business to enable them to carry out their role effectively. This may be access to a database for data entry or credit control tasks, or it may be something less invasive, like access to a website or social media for content creation.

Again, this kind of data security comes under the General Data Protection Regulations, meaning any use of areas of your business that require password-protected access must be dictated by you. It is then our lawful duty to keep both the password and data secure. In some instances, you may want to provide your Virtual Assistant with their own password, within which you can control access and restrictions. This will give you peace of mind that only the parts of your business that you want to be accessed can be accessed, and a leaked password will cause minimal damage.

However, most of our clients at The Edwards Company don’t feel that this is necessary. They know that we want the best for their business and will therefore go above and beyond to ensure their data remains secure at all times.

If you’re still unsure about handing over passwords, there are some tools out there that allow you to do so with added security. Take LatePass for example – this tool allows you to give password access to your Virtual Assistant without them seeing the password itself. Check out their Team Password Manager for more details.

 

Secure Data at The Edwards Company

Deciding to delegate tasks to a Virtual Assistant can be a daunting process, especially if these tasks involve sensitive data that you’re worried about sharing. Because this is such a common concern, we’ve made it our mission to reassure our clients that their data is in safe hands. Concerns about data security shouldn’t prevent you from making a decision that could mean maximising success for your business.

With our secure data processing protocols in place, we’re able to offer services in credit control, data entry, admin and content creation. We’re currently trusted by clients all across the UK and beyond and would love to support your business too.

Please get in touch via our website, email or telephone to discuss your Virtual Assistant requirements.