June 22, 2017

Home Business? Here’s How to Improve Document Security

Don’t assume a home business doesn’t have to worry about document security.  

Self-employed entrepreneurs that run businesses as sole proprietors or independent contractors in their homes have the same kinds of document security responsibilities and challenges as any small business.

Hackers target small businesses because they tend to have lower defenses than larger organizations, according to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity by Ponemon. The report showed that 50% of SMBs had been breached in the previous 12 months with the most prevalent attacks being web-based and phishing/social engineering. 

The theft of paper documents continues to be a risk as well. In the seventh annual Shred-it Information Security Tracker Survey, five in ten (52%) American SBOs estimated their paper use would stay approximately the same (the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year), and 11% think it will increase.

But 4 in 10 (39%) small business owners still lack any sort of policy for managing their confidential paper.

Here’s how to improve the document security in your home business.


  • Evaluate what confidential data is handled, what your responsibility is to protect that data according to privacy laws, and what the security risks are.
  • Question the security processes of businesses you work with such as vendors, suppliers, and partners.
  • Keep up-to-date about cyber threats – and how to avoid attackers.


  • Use a document management process to store documents. Retention requirements and ease of retrieval are key.
  • Digitize paper documents, if possible, by scanning and saving them to cloud-storage or transferring them to s CD, DVD, or external hard drive.
  • Create backups of digitize records, and lock them up in a secure location.
  • Store paper documents in locked filing cabinets or drawers.


  • Ensure information is managed according to compliance needs.
  • Shift away from a ‘save everything’ mentality by knowing what you need to keep (such as contracts, invoices, accounting and tax papers, receipts, billing, expense forms, and client information). 
  • Purge stored documents regularly to reduce the volume of information.


  • Securely shred paper documents that are no longer required before they’re recycled. Outsource secure shredding to an information security expert that ensures the total security of the document disposal process.
  • Follow a Shred-it All Policy – and avoid the risk of human error or poor judgment about which paperwork should be shredded.
  • Securely destroy mobile devices, hard drives and disks when no longer needed. Confidential information can be recovered from old hard drives. Your shredding partner should provide hard drive destruction services too.

Start Protecting Your Business 

To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.