Christmas is nearly here, and we all probably have many expensive presents lying around the home or office waiting to be given to your relatives and friends. However, it is important to remember that security isn’t just a case of locking up your premises and keeping the gifts out of sight when you are out partying the night away. Running a business means you should also review the safety of your premises, equipment and confidential information too.
The festive season means many offices will be left unoccupied for several days. As much as we all want to rush out of the office and open that first bottle of prosecco, there are many things to remember before we leave. Considering we now live in the digital age, empty offices increase the possibility of laptops, smartphones or confidential information being stolen, especially if they are left lying around on your desk.
However, this risk is also magnified when devices and papers are taken away from the office and left lying around while their owners enjoy the festivities.
Here are our 5 steps for playing it safe with work equipment and confidential materials over Christmas:
1. Shred it
There are two essential shredding tasks in the run up to Christmas – one in the office and the other for anyone working from home.
Before you break up for the holiday, give yourself a good few days to shred any documents that you no longer need to keep in the business. If any of your employees work from home on a regular basis, then there is a possibility they’ll have documents lying around their home office - therefore, equip them with a shredder if they don’t have one. It is advisable to use cross cut shredders that are capable of shredding A4 sheets into as many as 410 pieces.
2. Securely store it
Sensitive documents should always be stored in a locked filing cabinet whether it is the holidays or not, so try and make it extra secure whilst you are away for the holidays. On the final day before you lock up, check your entire office to see if anything has been left on printers, desks or photocopiers. It is advisable to use a fireproof safe if you are leaving any valuables or cash that cannot be stored in cabinets.
Encrypted storage devices are an answer for anyone that needs to take confidential material home with them. If someone needs to take paperwork away then ensure that they carry this in a lockable case or bag.
3. Lock and filter it
Locking up now extends beyond doors and windows to digital devices. Laptop locks are similar to bike locks and will secure devices to fixtures in a workplace or home office.
Ensure everyone is keeping prying eyes away from confidential information by using a good password for all their devices and applying a privacy filter to all screens.
4. Back it up
The last thing you want when you return from festive celebrations is to see that all of your files have been corrupted and lost. So before you leave for the holidays, check that sensitive and important information is being fully backed up to an external hard drive.
Secure cloud storage will ensure that any work done by people at home or elsewhere will be saved remotely in the event of a device or paperwork being misplaced.
5. Be careful what you say…
Social media is a very powerful source now and while you probably want to let customers know your working hours over Christmas, be aware that releasing too much information about your work premises being closed could be valuable to the wrong people.
It is better to be safe than sorry, so try and do all you can to protect your business or home to ensure you have a wonderful Christmas