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Put my personal data at risk in employees’ homes, then you won’t get your hands on my money!

Written by Charlie Mullins on Friday, 10 June 2022. Posted in Politics, Analysis

It’s very easy for pen pushing economists and commentators to talk us into recession, but it will take the efforts of businesses up and down the country to keep us out of it.  

Put my personal data at risk in employees’ homes, then you won’t get your hands on my money!

It’s very easy for pen pushing economists and commentators to talk us into recession, but it will take the efforts of businesses up and down the country to keep us out of it.  

This means pulling our socks up, putting our collective noses to the grindstone, and all those other metaphors, along with getting people back to work in the most productive way, which means in one place, at the same time.

However, the pandemic hangover that’s created the ‘Peloton and Pyjama’ generation is spreading like wildfire and is putting our economy under serious threat.  And when it reaches the highest financial institution in the country, we know we’ve got real trouble on our hands!

I nearly choked on my bacon sarnie when I read that the Bank of England is allowing staff to work from home FOUR days a week!

We are in the midst of a major cost of living crisis, which the governor Andrew Bailey has himself said could lead to ‘apocalyptic’ food price rises.  So, what does he let his staff do?  Basically, give them free reign to not bother getting out of bed, put their laptop on the duvet and Loose Women on the TV.

As we keep being told, we are in an inflationary crisis that we haven’t seen in years.  So, why are the financial boffins that set the monetary policy for the UK huddled together trying to solve this economic conundrum?

While I would never compare this situation to the horrors of war, you can’t imagine Churchill letting his trusted advisors leave the war rooms in Whitehall – it was their ability to think quickly, be fleet of foot and collaborate in person to come up with the best solution.

The same is true in business.  At Pimlico we never had meetings. It was quick huddles, that delivered answers that we put into play very quickly.  You can’t do that when everyone is in their bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms disparately spread across the country.  

It also raises another issue.  What’s happening to all the personal data and information that workers of institutions like the BoE have access to from home.  We already know that part of the backlog at the DVLA is being caused by GDPR issues where staff aren’t allowed to access confidential data from home, so what about the banks?

There was a time when data was confined to a secure building, be it on paper or a closed computer network where staff were surrounded by colleagues.   Paper could be safely disposed of when required and computer systems protected.

But now for the Working LESS From Home crew, it’s on their laptops, memory sticks and probably bits of paper.  That’s not even considering the other people in the house who’ll see the open laptops and paper files being left on kitchen tables!

What happens when some dodgy characters discover that a worker, with access to this sort of info, is always at home.  Tapping into open internet channels will be top of their list!

After all, it’s easier to break into a home than into a bank!

I wrote in the Mail on Sunday recently that I’ll stop paying my taxes if civil servants don’t return to the office. I’ll take this a step further and also say that any business that can play fast and loose with my data and doesn’t have their people working in an office will lose my custom.

It’s time to get real about the situation we are in.  We are close to sailing into very choppy economic waters, but businesses can navigate us through.  As long as the crew are on the ship and not trying to traverse the rapids using confidential charts from their bedrooms.

About the Author

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins is founder of the UK’s largest independent plumber, Pimlico Plumbers and we're lucky to have him as our go-to guy on everything from growth to government.

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