July 12, 2018

New Secure Beginnings

Chinese New Year (CNY) is a time for new beginnings and with new beginnings comes spring cleaning and sometimes even an office move! Whether moving to a new office, a new seat or just doing away with the old to make room for the new, in the flurry of cleaning and packing, comes the heightened risk of potential accidental data leaks and breaches. Documents and electronic devices can easily be overlooked or misplaced in the shuffle or thrown away in a non-secure manner. Protecting data is important, especially sensitive, high-value information. Utmost care should be taken with the processes of packing, discarding, storing, transporting, unpacking and refiling. Organisations should take steps to prevent human error and accidental violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Here are six practical tips on how to ensure that your new beginnings start of on the right foot:

Before the Big Move: Take Your Time To Prepare

As with everything in life, giving yourself ample head start and some leeway will go a long way in preventing accidents - rushing causes mistakes. Start by taking an inventory of your data, especially your sensitive data, both physical and digital. Make note of specific assets that require heightened security. Be prepared for an audit, and conduct a before-and-after inventory check.

Minimise what needs to be moved

The less you do, the less mistakes you make – or, in this case, the less you move, the less data can leak. Keep what is necessary and dispose of the rest securely by shredding your documents. You can even prevent careless mistakes and oversights by employees or the threat of dumpster diving after careless disposal of shredded documents, by leaving your shredding to trusted third-party professionals and employing a Shred-it All Policy. Organisations should take the opportunity to also shred and dispose of hard drives, digital data storage, out dated computer and office equipment, which are no longer needed. Keep in mind that the less you take with you, the easier it will be to get up and running again.

Choose The Right Movers

Do your research, interview and understand how each firm would approach the job. Hire specialised companies for specific jobs – if you are moving a large quantity of computer equipment, hire one that specialises in electronics. For hard copy documents, look for one with a secure document transport process. Figure out your budget and keep your priorities straight, whether its cost-saving or maximum safety.

Backup Your Data

While a data breach is painful, so is losing your valuable data altogether. Best practices include storing copies of data offsite and having multiple copies to be transported in different vehicles. For particularly business-critical data, keeping soft and hardcopies may also be warranted. When packing, label boxes for easy tracking and inventory, without naming specific clients. For boxes containing sensitive documents, invest in evidence sealing tape which prevents tampering and assign specific internal staff to be responsible for handling these rather than entrusting them to external contractors.

Ensure Checks and Balances are in Place

Ensure that there is a team checking for oversights and non-compliance on the part of the movers and staff throughout the moving process. Individual tasks should be assigned, and members should be briefed on suspicious or risky behaviour to keep a lookout for. Ensure that no sensitive data is left unattended to at any time. Create a secure chain of custody for accountability if anything goes missing. Have employees sign off at every step of the way so it is easy to trace the last ownership.

Secure Your Destination

On arrival, ensure that records are unpacked and put away in secure locations. Assign designated employees to monitor the unpacking process and conduct checks against the pre-moving audit. Make sure that all storage facilities, such as lockable filing cabinets and network security measures are in place and fully operational before the boxes start arriving.

Planning for a Secure Future

The new year is the perfect time for new beginning. Make sure you start off on the right foot with robust data security policies, such as a Clean Desk Policy. Putting up security reminder posters can also help to remind employees about information security every day. Keeping your data safe is an organisation-level effort that requires implementation at all levels. By keeping processes and procedures up to date, data breaches can be prevented, making for a secure workplace, just in time for the new year.

Start Protecting Your Business

To learn more about how Shred-it can serve as an additional layer of defence to protect your organisation against data leaks, please contact us to get a free quote and security risk assessment.