July 10, 2018

How to Keep Financial Data Out of the Wrong Hands

A lot of financial services data is still being stolen by information thieves. In fact, data breaches have tripled over the past 5 years, according to the 2017 Cost of Cyber Crime report, Financial Services, by Ponemon.

Almost half – 42% of all firms in this sector – have had a data breach, according to a recent financial sector white paper by Shred-it.

What it often comes down to is the physical handling of confidential documents, according to the experts. While there's a focus - and perhaps reliance - on cyber security safeguards, it's also important to look at how employees are supported and educated in terms of doing their jobs. 

3 Ways Financial Documents Are at Risk of Exposure

1. Paper documents left out in the open

The financial sector still uses a lot of paper - the average office worker uses 10,000 pieces of paper a year. “Paper documents are the most susceptible to theft, and even with the increase in digital crime, physical crime is the biggest problem in the financial sector,” said a businessworld-usa.com post. Documents are left behind at the photo copier and in meetings, and employees often leave documents sitting on their desks. Solution: Teach employees to protect confidential information on paper from creation to disposal. Declutter the workplace of paper by having a Clean Desk Policy 

2. Not knowing what to shred

There is so much sensitive information in this sector but are all employees aware of it and familiar with protocols? The different types of documents include client information as well as corporate data such as balance sheets, financial statements, revenue forecasts and income statements. When these documents are no longer needed, they must be securely destroyed. Solution: Be sure all employees understand the importance of security and privacy on the job. Partner with a document destruction company so that secure document destruction is part of the workplace culture. Introduce a Shred-it all Policy as well so that all documents are securely destroyed when no longer needed. 

3. Lack of data security policies

Over half (57%) of banking and financial services that participated in the 2017 Travelers Risk Index reported that their operation was becoming more risky; and a security breach was the biggest concern in 70% of cases. But less than 1 in 4 companies have a cyber/data breach incident response plan or established employee data protection education and practices. Also, the 2018 State of the Industry Report by Shred-it reported that close to 90% of large businesses have flexible or off-site working models – but still haven’t adjusted their data protection policies. Solution: Put comprehensive data security policies in place, and provide thorough and regular training to employees.

Start Protecting Your Business

Learn more about how Shred-it can help protect your Financial documents. Contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment today!