In the wake of recent leaks from employees in the military and National Security Administration, information and document security is more of a concern than ever, even for those of us who don't work at government agencies. Many businesses are spending more money and effort on document protection and security than ever before, but still, sensitive information is often not completely protected. Here are a few tips for tightening up physical and virtual security and keeping important information private.
The easiest way to overhaul your document security and strengthen it is to focus on securing the information itself, or in other words your virtual documents. It's common for companies to try to secure all of the devices used to access sensitive information - hence, employees can only use work computers, or company-issued computers and tablets, to interact with sensitive information. However, these devices are still vulnerable to being used or taken by other people, and your company has no protection from employee stealing or copying information, either. You can benefit from focusing on more direct document protection instead. Many businesses offer programs that simply let you restrict printing, screen shots, copying, and sharing of documents, which is a much more effective way of preventing information from being spread around.
Correctly handling and storing physical documents is also important. Many companies now spend a great deal of time training employees to protect computers from viruses and keep work devices that they take home secure, but these companies don't spend as much time worrying about what happens to physical documents. You should require that your employees observe a clean desk policy, making sure that they lock up important materials any time that they leave their work area. Employees also should avoid taking sensitive documents home except under unusual circumstances. It's also important to remember that maintaining good document security is up to the company as well; it is important to safely store the documents, follow guidelines for how long to keep them, and safely dispose of them by sending them to a secure facility to be stored or shredded.
Document protection should be a high priority for any company. As always, physical documents need to be carefully looked after and put away. However, advances in technology are making it easier for companies to protect the integrity of virtual documents by limiting access and setting controls on what users can do with the documents. Spending a little extra time to upgrade old systems and update employees on appropriate handling of sensitive information isn't especially difficult, but it can save a company a great deal of trouble and loss in the future.
Tips For Protecting Sensitive Information