Did you know that decluttering is one of the simplest ways to protect an organization's reputation and reduce the risk of identity theft in the workplace?
As 2017 gets closer, putting a declutter plan in place will not only help keep the office tidy, but more importantly, will help protect confidential information from insider fraud and security breaches caused by human error.
According to a recent Bankrate report, 41 million US adults have had their identities stolen and another 49 million know someone who has been affected by identity theft.
The 2016 Cost of Data Breach Study by Ponemon showed that the average cost to companies for each lost or stolen record containing confidential information increased from $217 to $221 this year. The total average cost that organizations paid increased from $6.53 million to $7.01 million.
Protect your workplace with these simple decluttering tips:
Declutter work spaces
- Remove items that clutter the tops of desks except those that are used every day such as the phone, computer, monitor, and essential supplies. This includes sticky notes that contain confidential information such as passwords.
- Review all the documents, printed emails, etc. Current projects should be put in labeled files and kept on the desk. Store all other confidential information in locked file cabinets; if no longer needed, securely dispose of them.
- Go through documents in file cabinets and securely dispose of information that is no longer needed for business and/or compliance purposes.
- Digitize paper documents when possible. This makes information easier to find. Depending on security policies, digitized data can be accessed from outside of the office as well (which means paper documents are not being removed from the office).
Clean up digital information
- A regular audit of digital information is an important step in keeping your electronic files and databases secure. For example, file all emails using a simple filing system: ‘reply’, ‘waiting’, ‘archive’. Delete files that are no longer needed and/or store them for better access.
- Protect storage devices such as CDs, DVDs or USB drives containing restricted or sensitive information. Keep them out of sight and/or lock them in a drawer. When devices become obsolete, they should be physically destroyed to ensure information is no longer accessible.
In and out of office
- Prevent untidy office spaces by implementing a Clean Desk Policy. This is a corporate policy that stipulates employees clear their desks at the end of every day. It helps make decluttering an on-going process.
- Even when leaving the desk or work area for a short time, employees should make sure confidential information is not visible and computer screens should be locked.
- Mobile workers must cover/hide confidential information when working outside of the office.
- Mobile devices should never be left unattended in the office or in a vehicle and all devices should be password protected.
Secure Information Disposal
- Information should never be thrown into open recycling or garbage bins. Instead, partner with an information destruction services expert that has a secure chain of custody including locked consoles for documents and shredding and hard drive and e-media destruction.
- A declutter office plan should include a Shred-it all Policy so that all documents are destroyed when no longer needed.
Learn more about professional document destruction services available to address the specific security needs of your workplace.