According to the Breach Level Index, about nine billion data records are stolen since 2013. Records in industries like finance, education, healthcare, technology, and government are just some of those that have high-risk levels. It’s said that poor internal security among offices and institutions is the major cause of the breaches in the last quarter of 2017. If you have piles of confidential documents in the workplace, it’s high time that you start establishing a privacy protocol.
This isn’t just about locking your documents in a vault. Here are ten more things you should keep in mind.
1. Setup a digital firewall
Having an IT department in your office will cost you more, but if you’re into healthcare, this is a pressing move to do. Let the pros establish a firewall on your computers and secure your internet connection. If you have an IT manager on top of the situation, you’re less likely to hand thieves the key to your digital system.
You should have an SSID that will cloak your system from the prying eyes of hackers. Locking all your accounts with passwords will make a big difference too. Just make sure that you update the keys regularly.
2. Beware of phishing emails
Phishing emails are tricky and sometimes, you’ll just know that you opened one when it starts messing with your computer. Hackers are getting smarter and smarter nowadays that phishing emails can work without altering your device’s functionality. It’s like having spiders crawling in your system without any visible signs.
An easy way to prevent this from happening is to become vigilant. Don’t click emails from sites you’re not subscribed to. Also, don’t download attachments right away. Some of it may contain malware that’s going to engage once it’s on your computer. It will be advisable to install a download scanner so dubious ones will be flagged right away.
3. Give your staff the proper training
Giving your staff comprehensive cybersecurity training will be an effective measure to protect confidential documents in the workplace. This way, your employees will be geared with digital tools to secure your system and to spot suspicious activities. Also, training will help your employees develop a healthy security habit in the office.
The people handling the confidential documents would be the key players in securing it. Evaluating them regularly will keep your security protocol in the works.
4. Test your own security protocol
One way to identify the weakness of your own system is to try breaching it yourself. If you’re working in a technology company, you should try intruding your system and see if your IT team can detect it right away. If not, it would be a good room for quick improvements.
You can also try sending your employees some phishing emails and see how they will deal with it. It’s a bit tricky but you just can’t take chances on data breach these days. With the help of your IT team, you can assess your workspace’ system
5. Got confidential documents in the workplace? Secure your office!
You shouldn’t just focus on the digital aspect of the data breach. Even if you’re office is located in a high-rise building, the possibility of theft is still in the picture. You should install door locks that only you and your employee can access. And like the traditional way of storing confidential documents in the workplace, you should use vaults for top-secret files.
Having a security guard would pay off if you have a standalone office. If you have a home office, make sure that it’s not accessible to kids or pets in the house.
6. For healthcare companies, comply with HIPAA
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act imposes security standards for companies or business handling medical records. The act has a set of privacy rules that you should comply with to avoid fines and penalties. Some of it includes the limits of disclosure, clearing of documents, retention, and disposal.
The HIPAA rules apply to health care providers, health plans, clearinghouses, and any company that transmits or handles medical information of patients. This isn’t exclusive to the physical copy of the information. The HIPAA has strict guidelines on the ‘electronic protected health information’.
7. Know how to encrypt your confidential information
Encryption is the process of making confidential documents in the workplace inaccessible by means of passwords or codes that will distort the visual appearance of it, say photos or videos. This is an effective way of storing bulks of information in your system, as it will serve as the second line of defense aside from your firewall. Your IT team can handle this while you can also include this step in the cybersecurity training you’ll give your employees.
The HIPAA doesn’t qualify stolen encrypted data as a breach. This can get you off the hook when everything comes to worse. Aside from the intangible aspect, make sure to give equal protection to your hardware.
8. Have a good lawyer
It’s not that you’re already bound to experience a security breach, it’s just that when everything comes to worse, you have someone to ask for help. A good lawyer can help you get through penalties or even dodge hefty fines. Patients or clients may also sue you in the event of a data leak.
Aside from being your go-to person in times of legal distress, lawyers would also help you comply with the laws. They will be the ones to interpret the law for you and ask you to provide the necessary resources.
9. Choose your employees wisely
One of the leading causes of breach of confidential documents in the workplace is inside job. It’s either your nefarious employee did it personally or he supplied information to an outsider enough to access your system. If you’re expanding your manpower, make sure to pick every employee right. It will cost you additional time and money, but you’ll be assured that your business’ integrity is secured.
Invest in someone that can pass your security test. You can ask a potential employee of his security capabilities. Putting him in an actual situation would be a good idea too.
10. Shred your confidential documents
The best way to secure your confidential documents in the workplace is to shred the physical copy of it. This is so your employees have no way of sneaking out with a copy or so they won’t be reading any of it. You can scan the sheets then shred it all in a micro-cut shredder.
This won’t just level up your data security, but it will also remove the excess clutter in your office. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone using an affordable equipment.
Planning to dispose of confidential documents in the workplace? Here are the best shredder options!
If you’re looking for runtime, capacity, and security, the Bonsaii EverShred C149-D Shredder will be a good choice. It can chew 12 sheets in one feeding at a speed of 5.3 feet per minute. This shredder can run for a full hour without any downtime as it uses the patented cooling system of Bonsaii.
At P-4 security level, this is a good catch at less than $160. It’s also quiet while in use so you can shred piles of confidential documents without disturbing anyone. The Bonsaii shredder is also equipped with an auto stop and start function for easy use.
With a six-gallon basket, this is already an average shredder for the office that you can share with two or three other people. With its price and features, this one is for the money.
For a personal shredder in the office, nothing beats the Aurora AU820MA Micro-cut Shredder. It can shred an average of eight sheets in one batch and it can dispose of your credit cards and CDs on a separate cutting slot. You can use this shredder for five straight minutes before needing cooling down.
This Aurora shredder has the same P-4 security and the ShredSafe Technology that will shut down the system during forced entries. It may not be as quiet as the Bonsaii shredder, but the Aurora machine isn’t that noisy.
For less than 70 bucks, you’re going to love this shredder on your office desk. You no longer need to worry about the possible data breach that may happen when you just toss the documents in the trash.
If you want something in between the Bonsaii and Aurora shredder, check out the AmazonBasics Micro-cut Shredder. This has a 12-sheet capacity that can run for eight minutes and can destroy confidential documents in the workplace, CDs, and credit cards. Once the machine reaches a certain temperature, it will shut down automatically to protect the motor. The AmazonBasics shredder has a 6.7-gallon basket that’s more than enough to accommodate your shredding needs for a day.
This machine is quiet in operation and best for office use. For about $100, you’ll already have a reliable and long-lasting shredder. Not to mention the peace of mind it will bring, this shredder is a wise investment for your workplace.
Protecting confidential documents in the workplace is a crucial step in preventing the data breach. Securing these files will also save your business from penalties and bad publicity. Aside from securing your digital space, make sure that your surroundings are also on par with the privacy you’re trying to achieve. What do you think of these points? Of the shredders? Let us know in the comment section!