Maintaining the Highest Levels of Confidentiality During COVID-19
COVID-19 restrictions are challenging all service providers to come up with imaginative new ways to meet their clients’ needs. Appen is offering a two-part approach to transcribing confidential material that delivers high levels of confidentiality and protects our employees.
Most transcription providers offer basic security measures, like staff vetting and agreed data handling processes. The best also offer a secure on-site option for the most sensitive data.
On-Site Transcription for Maximum Security
Based at Appen’s Exeter, UK, headquarters, our on-site facility offers enhanced levels of security for clients dealing with highly confidential material, as Team Leader Millie Hunt explains:
“I manage a team of ten specialist transcribers based at the Exeter facility. Clients send work via a secure upload portal; once the transcript is complete it is returned in the same way.”
Employees at the on-site facility are all Defense Business Services (an organization of the UK’s Ministry of Defense concerned with national security) vetted to enhanced levels. The offices are protected from data breaches by physical measures such as CCTV and intruder alarms, and virtual security is tight. All work is completed offline and there are strict password and log-in protocols.
A New, Two-part Approach
COVID-19 restrictions meant most employees must work from home. Given the enhanced measures in place at secure on-site facilities like ours, how can transcription providers maintain a ‘maximum security’ service and at the same time keep its employees safe?
By reorganizing the way our transcribers, quality checkers, technicians and team leaders work, we are continuing to offer our most secure transcription service to clients that need it.
“Work that is classified as Sensitive-Official just can’t be completed at home,” says Millie. “So a reduced team of transcribers is continuing to work at our secure offices with social distancing and other safety measures in place.”
For other customers, a home-based service is available – still secure, but without the additional high-level safety features provided in house. And many clients are happy for their work to be completed in this way – transcribers use Appen-owned equipment and work to the same high standards as usual, with work rigorously quality checked and shared using our well-established data handling processes.
Reducing the Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions on Clients and Employees
Safety is paramount of course, but employees based at home for the first time have undoubtedly faced some challenges.
“Things feel very different when you’re working from home,” Millie explains. “It’s strange not seeing colleagues every day and communicating online instead of face to face.”
There are potential benefits too though, for example more flexibility to network virtually across the company and also to take up online training and professional development opportunities. For Millie, this has included learning more about transcription for machine learning, another area of Appen expertise.
For customers, including those needing to access the most secure transcription services, our new arrangements ensure continuity in spite of the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19.
For employees, safety is paramount, and we will continue to monitor UK Government advice on the phased, safe return of home workers to the office.
As Millie puts it:
“Clients shouldn’t even notice a difference,” she says. “They’re still receiving the same high-quality transcripts, to the same deadlines, whether that’s from the office-based team or the group working from home.”
For more information on our flexible, secure, on-site and home-based transcription services please contact us.