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New Year Declutter Challenge Week One: Clear Your Workspace

Posted  January 08, 2019  by  Lynn Brown



With 2019 in full force, employees are cleaning out their desks, disposing of old documents and hitting the refresh button. A clean, organized and clutter-free workspace will not only make daily tasks easier to accomplish, the simple act of decluttering your office will also protect both employees and organizations from data breaches and fraud.

When it comes to data breaches, it’s easy to think “it won’t happen to me” and not take security seriously – and with the trend of moving toward a paperless office, many don’t see paper as a risk. In reality, the average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year, and sensitive documents falling into the wrong hands can come at a high cost. The global average impact of a data breach in 2018 cost $3.86 million to a business's bottom line, not including the reputational loss associated with a breach.

You may not realize it, but even one document left out in the open by mistake can be a serious security hazard. Even if the physical documents aren’t stolen, inside fraudsters can use visual hacking - looking over someone’s shoulder as a way to obtain data and information.

You can reduce your risk by joining our month-long declutter challenge. Each week, we'll tackle a different high-risk area to show how you can minimize stress caused by clutter and reduce security gaps with a few simple and manageable changes, starting with your immediate workspace. 

Below are some simple step by step decluttering tips to help maintain an organized workspace throughout the year.

1.)    Start by removing all papers that have been left out in the open. File documents you need in a securely locked drawer or cabinet, and shred the rest.

2.)    Next, tackle nick knacks – this includes unneeded business cards, removable media such as USBs and post-it notes. These items are all easy to overlook, but may contain some telling confidential data, and can contribute to a stress-inducing messy desk. Once again, lock away anything you don’t need. Keep only essential tools and computer equipment out.

3.)    Once you’ve finished your initial declutter, remember to check your workspace each time you leave, whether it be for a break, meeting or at the end of the day. Conducting frequent quick checks will prevent clutter from piling up.

In order to keep up with your decluttering plan and maintain a secure workspace throughout the year, consider implementing a Clean Desk Policy.  . Whether employees work from home or in an office, leaving sensitive documents out in the open puts both organizations and individual employees at risk for fraud and visual hacking.

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