Building data privacy into the building

Data protection is a hot topic, with businesses spending millions on securing digital networks. However, an often-overlooked risk to data privacy is the office environment itself. Open plan working and glass walls that create light-filled, aesthetically pleasing work environments might look appealing but can create information security problems of their own.

Certainly with an increasingly digital world, privacy is moving up the design agenda: An independent survey of UK architects’ practices on behalf of Glass Films, conducted in February this year, found 70% of those questioned agreed, or strongly agreed, that clients were increasingly asking for data security to be taken into consideration during space design and planning.

Chris Gould, Commercial Director at Glass Films says:

“Half of architects questioned said data security was the fourth most important design consideration after accessibility, lighting and open-plan design. 69% of practices agreed, or strongly agreed, that a good architect always considers data security when designing office space and meeting rooms. 68% agreed, or strongly agreed, that data security should be of high importance to the architect and a huge 99% of the architects we questioned said GDPR has had an impact on how seriously companies are taking data security when designing office space.”

However, the need to protect important data from prying eyes can be at odds with contemporary space design. Gould adds: “72% of the architects we questioned agreed, or strongly agreed, that designing office space with sufficient privacy is inconvenient to the design aesthetic; with 71% of respondents agreeing, or strongly agreeing that factoring in privacy actually compromised their designs.”

Architects and space planners must also consider where the privacy threat comes from. Gould points out that it’s easy to assume that it’s always from external hackers, however, a report last year[1] found that one in three (34%) data breaches involve internal employees. “When you pair this with the significant rise in coworking spaces, open-plan office design and hotdesking, it’s easy to see how privacy measures are of growing importance. This means the only real solution is an effective window film. Decorative films such as pattered or frosted glass are commonplace and can be a useful tool in ensuring privacy through a glass partition. However, they aren’t always effective at keeping digital data confidential, plus can make the environment feel claustrophobic and less all-inclusive.”

Encompassing all levels of protection is Casper™ Cloaking Technology by Designtex. The innovative solution acts as a smart shield, obscuring light emitted from digital screens only and making displays appear as a black screen to outside viewers, while helping to retain the sense of space and light that comes from glass walled-meeting rooms.

Gould stresses that Casper film does not compromise light or the feeling of spaciousness but does protect sensitive digital information in internal or client presentations, staff or board meetings.

Concludes Gould: “How businesses protect sensitive data has never before been under so much scrutiny, but we believe that with effective internal measures, much of this risk can be mitigated through simple and unobtrusive changes to office space design, office can be beautiful and functional.”

By Chris Gould, Commercial Director at Glass Films

Glass Films is the leading supplier of high-quality patterned and frosted glass manifestations designed to offer decorative privacy in corporate, leisure and private spaces. Glass Films is the exclusive distributor of Solyx® and Simglas® Decorative Window Films throughout Europe, Russia and the Gulf States. Glass Films is part of the Protective Film Solutions company. You can find out more about Protective Film Solutions here:  

Follow Glass Films on Facebook: @glassfilmseurope 

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About Casper™ Cloaking Technology 

Casper™ Cloaking Technology by Designtex is an architectural film for glass walls that obscures the content of LED displays from outside view so that anyone looking into the room from the outside sees just a black screen, providing excellent office privacy and allowing everyone in the room to work freely with peace of mind.  

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