May 14, 2019

Ask the Expert: Spring Cleaning with a Shred-it All Policy

The May long weekend is right around the corner. Many of us will be taking advantage of the extra time off with a week-end trip, or enjoying a relaxing staycation. If the extra day leaves you with some down time, why not ‘spring-forward’ by committing to cleaning your home and office?

This week, Shred-it’s Ann Nickolas, SVP, is back to share some efficient and safe tips on spring-cleaning activities that you can easily implement at home and at work. 

What are some items that individuals need to be aware of before they toss them into the garbage? 

While spring cleaning is a great way to de-clutter your home, many individuals aren’t aware of the security risks that exist if the proper precautionary measures are not taken. Throwing a receipt or an old electronic device into the garbage could put you at a heightened risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Old passports, boarding passes, resumes, receipts and cell phones all contain confidential data that could give fraudsters access to your personal financial information if they are not properly disposed. You really have to think twice before disposing of unwanted items. I often find old USB sticks and travel receipts in my drawers and purses when I do my spring-cleaning. Each of these items need to be taken to a professional shredder so that they don’t run the risk of compromising my identity.

In today’s digital society, it’s important for parents to begin talking about information security procedures with their children early on so that they are aware of the risks – and what to do about them.

What are the items most at risk when spring-cleaning at the office?

I always remind my employees to “spring-clean” their office and desk as paper documents are at high risk for a data breach. This precaution is particularly important with the rise of the open-office work concept and flexible work arrangements we are seeing. Our 2018 Security Tracker found that while flexible and open concept workspace can lead to better employee retention, this office trend carries with it some new information security risks that need to be taken seriously. For example, employees who work in an open-office environment need to be mindful that colleagues may be working on confidential client files, not meant for wandering eyes. That is why documents should never be left lying around where any one could access them. 

One solution that we have implemented at our office is a Shred-it All Policy. This policy requires all employees – regardless of level – to shred everything before they leave the office. Post-it notes, contracts and CVs can all create serious security risks if that information gets into the wrong hands.

How can a Shred-it All Policy take your data protection to the next level?

A Shred-it All Policy will help your office and employees prioritize data protection and take your data security to the next level for the following reasons:
  • First, a Shred-it All Policy creates a culture of security. Implementing data protection policies encourages employees to keep their desks tidy and clear of confidential information when they are away from their workstations.
  • Second, these policies create less uncertainty. Data disposal policies eliminate any ambiguity around what documents are confidential and need to be shredded.
  • Finally, this policy better protects employees from exposing their organization to a data breach. No one wants to be responsible for the hefty fines associated with a data breach or the unfortunate loss in organizational reputation that will inevitably follow.

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents, please fill out a form to get a free quote and security risk assessment.