The Internet has made sharing information and data as easy as the click of a button, and sometimes we don’t even realise we’re doing it. At a time when we are hearing about data breaches and information leaks every few weeks, data protection is a hot button topic for every business. Breaches of data within your workplace can have serious consequences, including fines, business closure and even prison time. That’s why having a data protection policy in place in our workplace is so vital.
All of your employees should be briefed from day one business about the importance of confidentiality. Proper training should be given on how to handle sensitive information when it first arrives, while it is inside the business and how it should be disposed of when it is no longer needed. You need to ensure that your employees have all of the information they need to keep business data private and that they understand what is expected of them in terms of work ethic and privacy.
Clean Desk Policies
Many data beaches are caused by basic human error, whether online or in physical form. Implementing a clean desk policy across all employees will help you reduce the risk of accidental data breaches. All employees should understand that they are not to leave files, emails, documents or other paperwork on their desk for anyone to see or handle, especially if they aren’t at their desks to ensure its security.
Implementing an effective shredding strategy within your business is a key part of your data protection policy, not in the least because it is a legal requirement to ensure that your business disposes of sensitive information in a secure fashion. The Data Protection Act states that every business has a legal obligation to protect the confidential information it holds on its employees, customers and suppliers, and this includes its storage and secure destruction. If you only handle a few sensitive documents a month then a heavy duty office shredder might be the right way to do this, but if you are handling more you need a robust solution. For this, there are secure shredding companies who can destroy your documents on or off site and provide you with a certificate of destruction as legal proof that you have upheld your obligations.
Secure Document Storage Containers
If you have decided to use a secure shredding service, then you will need a way to store your documents while they wait for your regular pick up or visit from the mobile shredding truck. Most shredding services will provide you with a secure document storage cabinet or container, so that you can keep everything that needs to be destroyed in a single, lockable location. Secure document containers can be lockable or completely sealed, so your documents can’t be retrieved by unauthorised personnel.
Social media is one of the elements of data protection that employers sometimes overlook. While there may be policies in place about using social media at work or guidelines about company style on the business account, you need to make sure it is clear that you will not tolerate any information about the company, its clients, suppliers or other employees being shared on social media. No matter what the situation, company information is strictly confidential at all times.
With every good data protection plan should be a set of consequences for any employee discovered to be breaking the rules. This will not only help you to crack down on any infringements, but it also means employees will take the policies a little more seriously. If you need help implementing a data protection policy or just want to know more about how shredding can help you stay on the legal side of the Data Protection Act, get in touch with us today.