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Businesses may be at risk of data breaches as workforce goes mobile during school holidays

London - 12 May 2014:  UK businesses may be at risk of data security breaches from an increasingly mobile workforce during the May school half term and summer holidays unless employees are made aware of company information security policies, the UK’s leading data destruction company warns.

As businesses move to improve employee satisfaction and productivity by helping staff achieve favourable work-life balances, particularly during periods such as school holidays or industrial action by teachers or transport workers, the UK has seen a significant increase towards remote working arrangements within the last decade. In the last five years to 2013, there was a 13-percent increase in people working from home, according to a survey by the TUC.

However, organisations need to be wary of the vulnerability of confidential information which extends past confines of the workplace. Information destruction expert Shred-it is therefore urging companies to ensure all staff are aware of data security risks when working from home.

Businesses need to implement preventative measures aimed at the remote worker to safeguard their assets through appropriate document disposal policies. A well-understood information security policy helps companies to address the extra risks associated with mobile working by ensuring that their information security protocol translates beyond company walls.

From encouraging staff to return confidential documents to the office for safe and secure disposal to outlining best practice with respect to handling corporate devices such as laptops and mobiles, businesses need to provide clear rules to help employees maximise their productivity while also protecting sensitive information.

“We live in an age where technological advancement and changing employee demands allow for more flexible work options. However, understanding how this relates to data privacy is crucial and it is important, now more than ever, for companies to be proactive in addressing this through clear cut policies and procedures that mitigate potential risks of data breach and ensure peace of mind.” - Robert Guice, Executive Vice President, Shred-it EMEA

With the school holidays fast approaching, Shred-it has put together some guidelines to help businesses tackle the issue of data vulnerability through off site work activity. These guidelines help organisations to reflect upon their current data protection procedures and to ensure that all confidential information stays that way.

Top tips for information security in the mobile workforce:

  • Assume all business documents are confidential – and should be removed from the office only if necessary.
  • Bring all confidential documents back to the office to be securely disposed of and shredded by a reputable data destruction provider.
  • Implement a clean-desk policy at home: lock away confidential documents & work devices when not in use.
  • Avoid printing confidential information from laptops or other computers.
  • Install encryption technology on all storage devices.
  • Be sure your security settings as well as passwords and firewalls protect devices with internet connections.
  • When working in a public area, be conscientious about protecting devices and information.  Take particular care if you are working in communal public spaces over this period such as coffee shops or the park – don’t leave anything behind or in public bins.

For further information contact:
Sonali Makanji
Weber Shandwick
Phone: 020 7067 0349
Email: smakanji@webershandwick.com

About Shred-it (www.shredit.co.uk)
Shred-it is a world-leading information security company providing information destruction services that ensure the security and integrity of our clients' private information. The company operates in 140 markets throughout 18 countries worldwide, servicing more than 300,000 global, national and local businesses.

Shred-it has branches in the following UK locations: Belfast, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, West Yorkshire, Chippenham, Essex - Waltham Abbey, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Portsmouth, Exeter, London - Stratford, London – Brentford, Nottingham and Cardiff.

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