July 12, 2016

Take the heat off your summer holiday information security worries

With summer upon us we are all guilty of slipping into the holiday mode and forgetting about those everyday office tasks, such as protecting our confidential data. So before you fly off on that much-needed holiday, or make arrangements to work from home in order to care for your children, be sure to put measures in place to help employees understand how to protect confidential information, and avoid a data breach.

Latest research from Shred-it shows that a whopping 97% of C-Suite executives and over half (55%) of SME business owners say they have mobile working arrangements for employees, yet only 41% of larger businesses and 32% of SMEs have policies in place for off-site work environments. This means that employees could be unwittingly putting business, customer or staff data at risk without even realising it.

To help businesses and their employees prepare for the summer season, Shred-it has offered six simple steps to take the heat off your information security worries and ensure that you are protected from a potentially damaging data breach:

  1. Guilty of having a messy desk? Before you leave for your holiday, tidy your work area and ensure that confidential information is safely secured or destroyed to stop data thieves from having easy access to important details.
  2. Encrypt and password-protect your electronic devices. If you need to log in on holiday or do work from home using your laptop or tablet, having a password set will help safeguard any confidential information stored on them.
  3. Writing that summer checklist? Why not also write a log of the electronic equipment or USBs leaving the office with you over your holiday? Be mindful about where your equipment is at all times - it’s all too easy to leave a USB lying around and forget about it when you’re in a coffee shop or have one eye on the kids. 
  4. Limit the amount of confidential data you remove from the office. You may think that you need to take information with you before jetting off, but the less confidential information you remove from the office, the less likely it is that it will fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Make sure you know how to securely dispose of work-related documents when you are not in the office. Don’t simply throw them in the rubbish or recycling when you no longer need them.  Also, personal strip shredders are not as secure as a professional cross-shredding service so bear this in mind – bring confidential documents back to the office to be securely destroyed. 
  6. Have an office clear out. Holidays allow us to clear our mind and come back to work feeling refreshed, so why not adopt this mantra into your working life too? Check your workspace and make sure confidential information is either securely stored or disposed of by placing it in a secure console to be destroyed by a professional destruction service.

To find out more about how companies and organisations can safeguard themselves against a data breach, visit Shred-it’s resource centre.