Did you know that 55% of theft in a workplace occurs within the victim’s work area?
That’s a worrisome statistic, and one of the reasons why it’s important to have a Clean Desk Policy.
A Clean Desk Policy specifies how everyone should manage their workspace, and it improves the security and confidentiality of information. Sensitive information must be protected at all times from anyone who may walk by such as other employees, office visitors, and cleaners.
The most important time to clear the area of confidential data is the end of the day. But even when employees leave their workspace for a quick break, they must take precautions. The best practice is to file away or lock up sensitive information, and switch on the computer’s password-protected screen saver.
Here are all the benefits of a Clean Desk Policy:
- Information security: At the top of the list, a Clean Desk Policy helps protect sensitive information and reduces the risk of a data breach and identity theft. Desks and computer screens are cleared of confidential information.
- Compliance: A Clean Desk Policy helps an organization improve compliance of privacy laws. There are different privacy laws in the U.S. and Canada, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the Data Protection Act in Europe and the U.K. next year.
- Appearances: The policy helps to tidy and organize an office overall sending a stronger message of efficiency and professionalism. This is important for both visitors and employees.
- Productivity: A de-cluttered office is more productive than a messy one, according to the National Association of Professional Organizations. The average person wastes over 4 hours a week searching for papers; the average executive loses 1 hour of productivity per day searching for missing information.
- Flexible Working: The policy supports ‘hot desking’, which is an office design system where employees do not have assigned desks, aiding flexibility in the workplace. All desks are left empty every evening, and employees sit where they want as they arrive in the morning.
- Embedded security: A Clean Desk Policy helps create security-driven work habits. The goal is for employees to start their day by planning and organizing documents needed for their immediate work. If an employee has to attend a meeting or take a break, it should be habit to do a quick check first to see if there is sensitive information on the desk – and secure it.
- Supports a culture of security: Everyone in the company and especially the senior team, should follow and advocate a Clean Desk Policy. Friendly security reminders online and in key areas of the office will help set the tone too.
Partnering with a document shredding company for secure document disposal makes it easier for everyone to adopt clean desk procedures. Locked consoles that store paper documents are placed in convenient locations in the office, and documents are securely shredded on- or off-site on a regular basis.
Experts also recommend a Shred-it All Policy, a company directive to send all paper documents for secure destruction when no longer needed.
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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.