February 08, 2016

Workplace data breach risks: do you know the sinful seven?

Office security is serious business as all organisations house sensitive data and when it comes to protecting that information, prevention is crucial! But to do this, all employees must be fully aware of the risk areas in the office or face unwittingly exposing confidential data.

To help you and your employees, Shred-it has compiled a list of seven seemingly harmless office items which could lead to a data breach if their risks are not fully recognised.

1.    The Printer

Have you ever gone to print only to find the photocopier has jammed or run out of paper? In a frantic rush to get documents printed in time, we often abandon print jobs in search of a working printer, but where do the original documents end up?

Remember: always track down and safely destroy unwanted documents before someone with harmful intentions gets their hands on them. Confidential information is anything from a payslip to a meeting agenda, from a customer email to an internal memo. So be careful!

2. The Photocopier

Did you know inside those volatile multi-function photocopiers are hard drives which retain images of everything scanned, printed and photocopied during its lifetime?

Don’t risk it! Avoid data thieves by physically destroying hard drives at the end of their useful lives to ensure none of the data can be retrieved. 

3. The Recycling Bin

We all want to do our bit for the environment, but good intentions could lead to a disastrous data breach if confidential information ends up in an unsecure recycling bin.

Don’t choose between secure document disposal and environmental protection. Simplify security and sustainability by employing a Shred-it all policy to shred all unneeded documents, and working with a reliable document destruction company that recycles all shredded paper.   

4. USBs

We’ve all been there: your colleague can’t find a USB key so you lend them yours, but did you check what information was saved onto it before you handed it over?

Always delete documents on USB keys before handing them over and when the time comes, make sure you dispose of the USB securely – don’t just throw it away!

5. Desk Space

We get it, you’re busy and as a result your desk is probably inundated with various documents (as well as remnants from lunch!) but if you’re not careful, your desk could be a hotbed of sensitive information.

From passwords to contracts and even scribbled notes from that planning meeting you just came from, store all confidential documents away and out of plain sight. Don’t be lax, keep it tidy! Think about implementing a clean desk policy.

6. Storage

Storage units and filing cabinets are a great way to store documentation, keeping them out of sight; however, if you don’t lock them they are pretty useless.

Lock all storage units when not in use and keep the key or password to the unit in a safe place! Never share your password with others. And don’t forget, it’s against the law to keep personal information longer than necessary so consider what should be securely disposed of.

 7. Laptops

We all take our laptops out of the office now and then, but there are a couple of things you should take into consideration before you do. 

Speak to IT about installing encryption technology on all devices and double-check your security settings as passwords and firewalls protect devices with internet connections. Also, remember to take particular care if you are working in communal public spaces– don’t leave anything behind! Mobile working is great for the modern workforce but only if you fully understand the risks and how to mitigate them

Protect your customers, your reputation, your revenue and your business. Contact Shred-it and save up to 25% off your first service. We’ll come into your workplace and identify opportunities to make your business more secure. For more information on how to keep your organisation safe and prevent a data breach, explore Shred-it’s resource centre.