Beware The Human Being – How Lack Of Procedures Can Risk Your Business

Over the past few years there has been a lot of focus out there on digital security. Shoring up your defences so that the increasing waves of cyber hackers can’t get in and steal your data from under your nose. While this is an incredibly important thing to do (with smaller and medium sized businesses being targeted most in the last 12 months), you should never forget the primary threat to your business security will remain the same. It has been since businesses first began and will continue to be long into the future. And that threat is people.


Why People Are A Risk To Your Business


It might seem odd, saying that people are the biggest threat to your business, but the simple fact is that human beings are prone to making mistakes. They forget instructions, fall for phishing scams and intentionally damage or spread data to cause havoc. In terms of IT issues, 37% of breaches and internal issues are the result of user error, with phishing and malware coming a close second at 25%. In 2015, 102 of the data breach incidents in London were due to loss or theft of paperwork. People are ultimately fallible, which makes it easy for thieves to exploit them. Catch an employee after they’ve had a fight with someone they care about or when they are over tired, and they can make all sorts of mistakes with your data. But, if you put processes in place and educate your employees to follow them, you will likely see a reduction in the number of incidents.


How Can I Protect My Data?


Now, we’re not saying you should fire everyone in your business – that would be madness! But what you do need to do is take the time to implement some policies and procedures that help people understand what they need to do. This is particularly important when it comes to confidential paperwork, because it’s not always easy for people to figure out what counts as confidential and what doesn’t. This is often why people throw away sensitive data – because they didn’t realise it was sensitive. So, to make sure your office stays secure, you should:


Write Your Policies. Before you start jumping up and down on people, take the time to figure out what policies you need in place to protect your critical data. Rules around storage and destruction should be at the top of that list. How will your documents be stored securely while they are with you, and when they are finished with, how will they be disposed of safely? Make sure you write all of these policies down and they don’t just stay in your head!


Train Your Employees. Make sure all of your employees are aware of these policies. Hold a training session and ensure everyone signs a training document, pledging to uphold these rules. But don’t just tell them what the rules are and leave it at that – go into detail and explain why the rules are being put into place and how following them will help.


Publish Guidelines. Once you have trained everyone on the new policies, publish some quick-access guidelines in prominent places, such as by printers or over bins. Include a checklist of things that would be on a confidential document, such as names, addresses, bank details, invoice numbers etc. By giving your employees a guide of what they can and can’t throw away, you reduce the risk of confidential data ending up in landfill.


Hire Partners. Now that you have a procedure in place, you need a way to manage it. For documents that don’t contain sensitive information, they simply end up in your normal recycling or bin. But for confidential documents, you need a plan to deal with them. Hire a local shredding company to take care of your documentation in a safe and secure manner. Secure shredding companies like us specialise in the collection and destruction of confidential paperwork from your office, so all you need to do is book a collection slot. We will provide you with shredding sacks, collect your paperwork and take it to our facility to be shredded. Once that is completed you will be given a certificate of destruction as proof that you have upheld your obligations under the Data Protection Act.


For more information about secure shredding, or to book your own regular collection slot, get in touch with us today and one of our experts will get back to you.


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