July 09, 2021
Getting the UK back into the workplace: Support a Secure Return to the Office with Shred-it
Governments are beginning to recommend that businesses gradually head back to the office. But is your office ready?
The return of employees, and the documents that will no doubt come with them brings added risk when it comes to securing your organisation’s confidential paperwork.
Learn how taking the time to declutter the workplace and introducing document management policies can help protect sensitive information and help ensure a data-safe return to the office.
Encourage Staff to Return Documents
For many of us, remote working has been a mainstay of our lives since the start of the pandemic. Early on, it’s likely employees will have taken documents or files home with them. Over the last year, many will have printed out potentially confidential documents and filled notepads with notes of a sensitive nature. Despite management guidance and policies, with remote working, the risks are greater that these documents might make their way into the rubbish or be left lying around in plain sight.
The reopening of the workplace is the best time to reaffirm your data and document management policies with your team. Remind employees to be aware that they are handling potentially confidential information and direct them to safely return business documents they no longer need for secure disposal. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of them being misplaced or falling into the wrong hands. You’ll also reduce the risk of a data breach and potential fines. You can then arrange to have them securely disposed of in one convenient collection.
Declutter to Get the Office Ready
Start afresh by decluttering any documents that are no longer needed. As your office opens up, look around with fresh eyes. Do desk surfaces need clearing? Do you have filing cabinets that haven’t been organised in quite some time? Decluttering and tidying up your workplace signals the start of a new, data-secure beginning. A tidy workplace is also proven to help employees feel more productive, better accomplished and in control . Not only will you create a more pleasant, efficient working environment, but you’ll be in a good position to enforce document management policies that help you comply with data protection regulations.
Booking a one-time shredding service is the perfect way to not only declutter the office but to mitigate potential risks of a data breach and protect the confidential and sensitive information of your employees, customers and organisation. Shred-it's one-time shreds are easy to book and you’ll be assured of a high level of customer service and security so you can quickly declutter and make your return to the workplace part of the fresh start.
As employees return to the workplace it is important that you take the time to retrain them on your information security policies. Don’t forget your new starters too who may not have been into the office and may be unfamiliar with these policies. They all need to be clear on what constitutes confidential or sensitive information, whether that be employee, customer or business information. To avoid a data breach and damage to brand reputation, everyone needs to follow best practice in secure information management and destruction and know how, and to whom, to report a data breach should it occur.
Undertake an Information Security Risk Assessment
The key to reducing the risk of an information security breach is in understanding which parts of your organisation are most vulnerable. Once employees return to the office, it doesn’t take long to undertake an information security risk assessment to evaluate the current status of your office document security, employee awareness and training, and document retention. This will highlight the areas where information security needs to be improved or addressed. Our quick office security self-assessment can help you and your employees identify areas where a breach might occur. Taking positive action demonstrates that you are striving to comply with data protection regulations.
Establish a Clean Desk Policy
Having a Clean Desk Policy at work not only ensures your workplace looks professional but also stops confidential information falling into the wrong hands and mitigates the risk of a data breach.
Encourage employees to clear desks of all papers, particularly those containing sensitive information such as personal details, account numbers and commercially-sensitive data, plus any other non-essential documents and notes (including the ubiquitous post-its). The policy should also extend to sensitive information on computers.
With a Clean Desk Policy your office space not only looks more attractive, professional and efficient, but also helps your business comply with legislation. It also encourages organisation and productivity. Ultimately, employees feel more in control in a well-organised environment and your customers will be left with a good impression of your company.
Introduce a Document Management Policy
In any organisation, documents flowing in and out of the office is a prerequisite of business – and this is only likely to increase with the free movement of employees between home and office environments. So, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of this potentially confidential information without any official processes in place.
All too often mislaid and mishandled paper documents have been the cause of many high-profile data breaches. By implementing a Document Management Policy, you’ll have a complete picture of the documents that come in and out of your business, what information they contain, who has access to them and how long they need to be retained. This can help to greatly reduce the risk of a data breach.
If in Doubt, Shred-it All
Educating employees and raising awareness of what is defined as confidential information and the types of documents to be mindful of is important for any business. There is always room for doubt and without a Shred-it All Policy, ultimately you are relying on your employees to decide how and where to dispose of their documents. Determining potential threats and deciding what documents can be deemed confidential can be a time-consuming and confusing process, with inherent risk.
Introducing a Shred-it All Policy – where all business documents are placed in a secure, locked console and securely destroyed once no longer needed – is the best way to reduce the burden on employees and reduce the risks of a data breach. By removing the responsibility from employees, this can also help to reduce human error, which accounts for 23% of all data breaches .
Partner with an Information Security Specialist
For the secure destruction of confidential and sensitive information, partner with an information security specialist that has a chain of custody and provides secure shredding services. The company should have the knowledge and expertise to tailor document destruction services across all industry sectors. It should also provide a Certificate of Destruction after every shred.