January 29, 2019

New Year Declutter Challenge Week Four: Secure Common Areas

Did you know that leaving any workplace documents in the recycling bin can be a security threat? You might think a garbage or recycling way is a safe way of disposing of information, but the reality is that most offices have common areas with these bins that pose potential threats for a data breach. For example, boardrooms, lunchrooms, and photocopy rooms can all have surprising risk points if they are not regularly decluttered. Who knew?

Let’s take a moment and think about your regular workday routine. Your day might start at your desk checking emails, followed by a mid-morning meeting in the boardroom. From there, you might go to the office cafeteria and grab a coffee, and then print off a few documents for your afternoon presentation. It is unlikely that you attend all of these meetings and common spaces empty handed. Yet, if you are like most employees, you might be more focused on when your next deliverable is due, or where your next meeting is located. Amidst this chaos, you probably leave a paper trail. For example, you might quickly toss a document in the boardroom garbage or you might forget to pick one up from a print tray. 

That is why this week’s Declutter Challenge is focused on securing common areas throughout your location. To help you get started, we have identified a few popular common areas that contain surprising fraud risks – and a few helpful reminders to keep these areas clean and clutter-free.

1.) The lunchroom: Many offices contain an employee cafeteria or an eatery to warm up your lunch and socialize with your colleagues. Hopefully you can enjoy your down time without having to review any work-related documents, but most employees bring presentation material, meeting notes, and notebooks with them to these areas… and they can often be left behind for someone else to pick-up or dispose of. Instead, lock any unnecessary  documents in your desk before any lunch breaks or other visits to the lunchroom so that confidential information isn’t picked up by someone it is not intended for.

2.) Boardrooms and Meeting spaces: Whether you have a client meeting or an internal meeting with other colleagues, you need to be mindful that no documents are tossed in recycling or garbage bins. Confidential information on these pages can severely impact your organization if these they get into the wrong hands. To help, staff training sessions should be held throughout the year that educate employees on proper security protocols. This training can help ensure that all employees take responsibility for any documents they handle and remind colleagues to properly discard of their own confidential documents as well.  

3.) Printing rooms: Everyone can be guilty of printing documents and then forgetting to pick these up from the print tray. Just think of all the documents that are printed each day – employee information, CVs, contracts, business plans, and other documents can all pose a security threat if left for another employee to pick them up. To help, set reminders around these stations reminding employees to double check that nothing has been left behind after printing, and to dispose of unneeded documents into locked containers that should be located in the same vicinity. If possible, have IT set up password-protected printing, so employees must enter a password to release the document, minimizing paper waste and security risks.

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