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Debunking Common Beliefs About Data Security

Even though this is a digital age, there is plenty of paper circulating in a modern office, and it might be just as much a hacking target as your computer.  

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If you’ve been thinking that you’re office is immune to the all-too-common modern threats of information breaches, hacking or fraud, you might want to think again.

It’s a myth that most of the modern information breaches occur digitally. It’s also a myth that paper records are not subject to hacking or fraud. Just the opposite is true. So, if you don’t routinely pay attention to the paper clutter in your office, chances are that you’re making it easy for someone with bad intentions.

There are proven ways to protect the privileged information that you deal with every day, and to ensure that sensitive information remains private and secure. Whether you store data on paper, on your hard drive, on remote devices that you lock up, or in the cloud, security is a major concern. If you’re currently focused only on computer security, it’s time to expand your horizons. On the other hand, if you don’t fully trust your digital records and back up all your corporate information with “hard copies,” you might want to rethink your current security protocols. Here’s why:

Visual Hacking Is Widespread

Even though your business environment might run on a digital network, employees still generate paper; some estimates place the volume of paper at 10,000 sheets per office worker each year! Business cards, sticky notes, printed data, snail-mail, and sensitive documents supplied by outside contacts not only add clutter to desks and files, but pose a serious threat — accidentally or by design.

A clean desk policy, locked cabinets and routine sensitive document shredding are ways to combat the paper crisis. And these are areas easily handled by a managed service provider (MSP) that specialized in document security.

Purge Obsolete Data and Outdated Documentation

Holding on to things maybe human nature, but it’s not good business practice. Clutter creates chaos in the office environment, and retaining old paper files only makes it more difficult to access relevant, up-to-date information. The truth is — and it’s a shocking statistic — that 53% of identity theft crimes DO NOT occur in the digital sector.

For your protection and to protect the sensitive records of your clients, contacts and coworkers, it’s wise to get rid of outdated files and historical records. Transfer anything that’s necessary to retain onsite to locked storage cabinets. Copy physical documents to digital storage, and then shred or otherwise destroy the paper. Continually monitor your record-keeping and security practices; this is where an MSP can offer guidance.

Destroy Rather than Erase Old Hard Drives

Another common myth is that erasing a computer hard drive destroys the data. Not so! Never stockpile retired hard drives, disks or USBs, thinking that you eliminated the threat when you erased the data. In many cases, a dedicated hacker can recover sensitive information. When you replace hardware or move to larger capacity digital storage options, entrust the destruction of old drives and data to a professional to ensure that it is totally wiped.

Security Is a Full-time Job

It can be difficult to assess and control the proliferation of sensitive information in a modern office setting, but it is a vital concern. Periodic training sessions with your staff are imperative, but most security breaches are not intentional. A document tossed nonchalantly into a wastebasket or accidentally left in a printer tray might be the source for a serious and unintended breach. Proposals left in a board room following a meeting, records taken home for review and papers that are required reading during long flights or daily commutes can fall into the wrong hands.

For help with your security protocols and procedures, why not consider a company whose only business is helping other firms with workplace security needs. Let a trusted outside specialist like Shred-it address the common myths of modern security concerns with you, help you declutter your workplace and ensure that sensitive data remains safe while in your care.

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