Working From Home? Here’s How to Improve Document Security

Posted  July 04, 2017  by  Jenny Green

home office security

Don’t assume that if you have a home-based business you don't have to worry about document security. 

Self-employed entrepreneurs that run businesses as sole proprietors or independent contractors in their homes have the same kinds of document security responsibilities and challenges as any small business.

Hackers target small businesses because they tend to have lower defences than larger organisations, according to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity by Ponemon. The report showed that 50% of small and medium sized businesses had been breached in the previous 12 months with the most prevalent attacks being web-based and phishing/social engineering. 

The theft of paper documents continues to be a risk as well. In the annual Shred-it State of the Industry report, 59% of UK organisations estimated their paper use would stay approximately the same or increase over the next year.

But 40% of small business owners still lack any sort of policy for managing and disposing of their confidential paper.

Here’s how to improve home office security. 


  • Evaluate what confidential data is handled, what your responsibility is to protect that data according to data protection laws, and what the security risks are.
  • Question the security processes of businesses you work with such as vendors, suppliers, and partners.
  • Keep up-to-date about cyber threats – and how to avoid attackers.


  • Use a secure document management process. Retention requirements and ease of retrieval are key.
  • Digitise paper documents, if possible, by scanning and saving them to cloud-storage or transferring them to a CD, DVD, or external hard drive.
  • Create backups of digitised records, and lock them up in a secure location.
  • Store paper documents in locked filing cabinets or drawers.


  • Ensure information is managed according to compliance needs.
  • Shift away from a ‘save everything’ mentality by knowing what you need to keep (such as contracts, invoices, accounting and tax papers, receipts, billing, expense forms, and client information). 
  • Purge stored documents regularly to reduce the volume of information.


  • Securely shred paper documents that are no longer required before they’re recycled. Outsource secure shredding to an information security expert that ensures the total security of the document disposal process.
  • Follow a Shred-it All Policy – and avoid the risk of human error or poor judgement about which paperwork should be shredded.
  • Securely destroy mobile devices, hard drives and other magnetic media when no longer needed. Confidential information can be recovered from old hard drives. Your shredding partner should provide hard drive destruction services too.

Start Protecting Your Business 

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and data security survey. 

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Fill out the form or call 0800 197 1164 to start protecting your business today!

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