January 10, 2023

Clean Desk Policy

Data is at the center of business; it is essential to meeting customer needs and responding to sudden market shifts and unforeseen events. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we conduct business, as well as the way we live and work. Many employees are back in the office full-time or part-time in a hybrid work environment. Whether working in a traditional office or a home office, businesses should implement policies and procedures to protect their data. Implementing a clean desk policy is a convenient way for employers to maintain data information security. A clean desk policy requires employees to shred or contain all physical documents each time they leave a work environment and requires all devices, such as laptops and phones, to be password protected.

Three Key Benefits of a Clean Desk Policy

It helps prevent unauthorized access to confidential information. People who work for the same company may not have the same information privileges. Therefore, employees should do their best to avoid leaving documents out in the open or confidential information on their screen when not at their desks. Unfortunately, there are malicious people within a company that look for opportunities to steal data. Small business leaders surveyed in Shred-it’s® 2022 Data Protection Report stated that malicious insiders were the source of 31% of the data breaches they experienced in 2021.

Employees should be aware of visual hacking, which occurs when an unauthorized user looks at someone’s computer screen or documents or makes notes of login passwords. Those in coworking spaces are especially at risk, given people from different companies share an office space. Another byproduct of hybrid work is “hot desking,” which means employees no longer have assigned desks. Therefore, people are likely to move technological devices and papers potentially containing confidential information to different locations and risk exposure to unauthorized users.

It reinforces a culture of information security. With comprehensive policies in place, employees incorporate information security into their daily practices and keep it top of mindMore in-depth security training during employee onboarding should also be required. With most data breaches (82%) in 2022 involving the human element, hackers know that people can be susceptible to phishing scams or accessible links connected to ransomware to access confidential data. Proper training, reinforced by policies such as the clean desk policy, can help employees identify physical and digital security risk factors and learn how to help prevent them in the future.  

It keeps workspaces free of clutter. Visual disorganization can impact one’s ability to focus. Instituting a clean desk policy can have the added benefit of helping employees be more productive. Employees feel more in control in a well-organized environment, and your customers will have a good impression of your company.

Keeping a clean desk can assist in reducing the risk of a data breach by making data security an everyday practice, as well as helping boost productivity. Learn how to establish a clean desk policy.

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