In this day and age, with identity theft and corporate spying running rampant, you can’t be too careful about protecting the sensitive information that every business deals with on a daily basis. It is wise to protect yourself. It is now the law that every business must properly destroy any potentially sensitive information about its clients, employees, or customers before discarding it. Just as there are many ways in which you store, handle and protect confidential information, there are also many ways to safely destroy that information when the time comes to do so.
- Lock It Up: There is no telling where and when your sensitive information will be compromised. You may, in fact, be giving prying eyes an opportunity every time you step away from your desk for a few minutes. Thus, it is highly recommended that you find secure, physical protection for such things as confidential documents, CDs, floppy discs, zip drives and tapes, password cheat sheets, and file cabinet keys. For portable computers which contain sensitive info, you should purchase and use laptop locks. Another necessity is to make sure that you keep all office doors and filing cabinets locked when they are not in use, and at the end of each day.
- Shred It: Obviously the most secure of all the solutions, the best way to eliminate unnecessary risk is to shred daily, on site, and by hand, any items that you no longer need, that might be dangerous or compromising in the wrong hands. Also you should make sure that you clean the areas around all printers and fax machines at the end of every day (or even every few hours) and shred any confidential info that may have been left behind by careless employees or co-workers. Because of the added security, having your own on site shredders is much preferable to giving your sensitive documents over to a shredding service.
- Password Protect It: One easy and wise thing to do is to set up your computer to implement a password protected screen saver after fifteen minutes or less of non use. Also, it should go without saying that you should never share your passwords with anyone, or even store them anywhere on the computer. If you can’t avoid that, disguise them in a file that doesn’t use the word “passwords” in the file or file name.
- Clean It: As in that laptop that you are passing on to a new employee, selling, or even throwing away. Before doing any of the above, make sure that you have properly wiped and reclaimed all of your information. If you are throwing a computer away, take pains to securely destroy it, and its hard disk or flash drive. Remember that simply deleting files may not be sufficient. If you really want to wipe your hard drive you will need to use a special utility to overwrite the sectors on the hard drive so that the data can be undeleted.
Of course, these security measure need to be adopted company-wide to be effective. It might be a good idea to have a meeting with all of your employees in which you go over these basic security measures. Later, you could even conduct an audit so you can ensure that your office is as secure as is possible.
If you are looking for a good quality paper shredder for your office, you might want to check out MyBinding.com. They carry the full line of GBC Shredmaster Shredders as well as shredders from Fellowes, Martin Yale, Intimus, MBM DestroyIt, Dahle and HSM of America. Choose from a huge selection of cross-cut and strip-cut paper shredders all at great prices and with free shipping.