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The 5 Best Ways to Keep Documents Safe at Work

A keyboard with a highlighted button for information security

Protecting sensitive information at work is more important than ever. Theft and misuse of information about customers, employees, financial records, or the business itself can be catastrophic. Personal and business identity thefts are growing problems and enable fraud on a nightmarish scale. There are also significant legal consequences for failing to protect customer or employee data adequately.


The Frontline of Document Protection

There is a lot of focus these days on digital data security, and rightly so. But a lot of information is still recorded on paper documents. If these aren’t handled and disposed of securely, they pose a major security threat – a shady operator doesn’t need to hack a password if they can just snap a photo of a document.

If you are an employee or business owner who handles documents containing sensitive information, you are on the frontline of document protection. Here are five easy ways to protect yourself, your workplace, and your customers.


1. Shred, Shred, Shred

The importance of shredding sensitive documents can’t be emphasised enough. Paper records could be stolen, photographed, or just memorised. Even documents that are thrown away are problematic if not properly destroyed first, as criminals are not above dumpster diving for information. Any documents that aren’t absolutely necessary should be professionally shredded and disposed of – if they no longer exist, they can’t be stolen.

A regular secure shredding service is a must for any business. A company that also offers secure paper recycling is best. They will safely transport the remains of shredded documents to be pulped and recycled, leaving no trace of the information.


2. Identify Sensitive Documents

Learn which documents in your workplace are most sensitive, and the proper procedures for handling each kind. Documents that could lead to security breaches generally include:

  • Employee records, such as salary and superannuation information.
  • Customer information.
  • Sales reports.
  • Pre-release financial information and forecasts.
  • Intellectual property.

Exactly which data needs to be protected and how will vary between businesses, so make sure to learn the specifics for your workplace. If you’re ever unsure of a document’s status, clarify it with a superior.


3. Secure Storage

Make sure any documents you work with are securely stored when you’re done with them, whether that’s in a company safe or a locked cabinet in your office. It may only take one information security breach to bring a business to its knees, so make this part of your daily work routine.


4. Avoid Shared Spaces

Never leave documents in communal spaces like break rooms, conference rooms, or printing areas. Shared photocopiers are a particular concern as the documents are not only left accessible, but could be copied on the spot!


5. Monitor Your Scribbles
It’s normal to take down notes by hand during the course of a busy day, but be careful. If what you’re scribbling down is sensitive information you should treat these notes like any other sensitive document. Don’t just throw them in the bin or leave them lying on your desk, have them properly disposed of along with the official documents.