Limited knowledge and awareness about what constitutes confidential information is putting UK businesses at risk of falling victim to fraud if these materials are not securely destroyed.
A report from Shred-it shows that a fifth of UK SME business owners (21%) believe they possess no documents that could cause their businesses harm if stolen. However, all businesses possess material that should be treated as confidential under UK and European data protection legislation, including employee records, client invoices, payslips and emails containing personal and professional information including that of customers.
Top 5 fraud risk areas in the workplace:
Printers and photocopiers: Many offices do not require employees to use a security code to complete a print job, which means that confidential information is frequently printed and left at printing stations. In order to mitigate this danger, businesses should mandate that employees secure their print jobs by using a security code or allow employees printing confidential information to use a printer in their own office workspace.
Non-secure recycling bins and wastepaper baskets: Disposing of data in an unsecure bin is just as risky as leaving it at a printer or on a desk. A shred-all policy eliminates the guesswork from the process and ensures that employees don’t accidentally leave confidential information in unsecure locations. Shredded material also tends to be recycled by reputable data destruction providers – don’t forget to ask!
Messy desks: Messy desks with loose paperwork are vulnerable to snooping and data theft from people both within and outside an organisation, such as cleaners and other third-party contractors. Consider implementing a clear desk policy and provide lockable storage units so employees can protect confidential information.
IT device storage: Electronic storage devices are very convenient when you can’t access the company network, but they also raise the risk of fraud. Businesses can reduce the risk of fraud by requiring that storage devices be signed out and ensuring that they are securely destroyed when they reach the end of their useful life.
Mobile workplaces: With an increasingly mobile workforce, many people can now access all their files at home or on the move. While convenient, that means that confidential information may be left in areas that are unsecure. Companies should caution employees to only take or print confidential information outside the workplace when absolutely necessary and instruct them on proper secure disposal procedures.