Even in the current modern era, a significant proportion of a company’s data is on paper records. Much of this paper is produced and then left about the company before being adequately processed. This constitutes a security and safety concern – as personal information about your customers and employees, as well as sensitive information about your company, are available to visitors or thieves. The adverse effects of a data breach due to malpractice are not only loss of reputation and clientele, but also criminal charges in line with the Data Protection Act.
Therefore, a clean desk policy is of the utmost importance for any business. Through a clean desk policy, any company vastly decreases the chance of sensitive or personal information getting into the wrong hands. This avoids corporate espionage and potential harm of your customers and employees. Here we list some ideas of how to implement a clean desk policy so that your company can take steps to be protected from data loss. This is not a comprehensive list of rules but would be a significant step in the right direction.
- Shredding – Shredding services are an effective way of ridding all paper documentation immediately. This prevents personal and sensitive information being lost or taken. Check out https://ontimeshred.co.uk/ for professional shredding services.
- Breaks – Many employees leave their desk unattended and unprotected during breaks. Employees need to be reminded that any period away from their desk should be started with the locking of their computer and similar paper documents. This also includes business meetings.
- End of day routine – Employing an end of day routine where every employee goes through their working area securing documents is an effective way of protecting your materials.
- Portable electronics – Any electronic device that can be easily moved should not only be secured but also locked/chained to an immovable object. This prevents it from being taken and accessed illegally off the property. This is also the case for portable storage devices such as USB sticks, DVDs, and CD-ROMs which should be stored away securely.
- Locked filing cabinets – All cabinets throughout the company building should be automatically locking. This way, the cabinets will only be open when in direct use by employees. This prevents any unauthorised access from occurring at any time.
- Passwords – Password should be automatically generated and encrypted to protect against hacking. Passwords should be forbidden from being written or printed around the office or being present on any company electronics. They should be kept either in a safe on the property or in a secure cloud server that is monitored by the IT department.
Implementing these rules is an excellent start in enforcing an effective clean desk policy. Clean desk policies protect businesses from illegal activity and the loss of personal and sensitive information.