December 04, 2018

Utilising co-working spaces? Here's how you can ensure your data is protected

Co-working spaces have become increasingly popular over the recent years. Co-working spaces comprise of different organisations sharing the same place, which also encourages people to bond with one another and it increases the opportunity to forge networks. As much as setting up an office in a co-working space is cost-effective, it is important to remember that the risk of data breaches occurring is high.

What Kind of Threats Do Co-Working Spaces Pose?

With an 'open-concept' layout, it is easy for opportunists to access company information if employees carelessly leave data lying around. This can include sensitive proprietary documents, mailing lists, billing information or even personal information such as NRICs from staff or clients.

Documents that are disposed of unsecurely can also be easily retrieved and used for various illegal activities. Working in a co-working space also means that a potential competitor could gain an unfair advantage by accessing confidential data if that information is not securely destroyed. All employees must ensure that physical or digital data is stored securely, especially when they are not around in the office.

It is better to practice preventive measures against data breaches than to scramble for damage control measures after a breach has occurred. Organisations that have become victims of data breaches pay a hefty price – both literally and figuratively. Victims of such attacks may be imposed with a fine by the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC). Once confidential information has been compromised, it inevitably leads to a loss of trust from customers, shareholders and results in reputational damage of the organisation.

Everyone has a part to play when it comes to data security

Establishing effective guidelines

  • Companies that manage co-working spaces need to establish guidelines and timely reminders for the organisations to safeguard their own confidential data. Some guidelines include reminding tenants to establish a clean desk policy and dispose of all critical information safely. This is crucial in protecting tenants from the threat of information thieves and maintaining the reputation of the co-working space as one that practices good data security habits.

Providing shredding services to tenants

  • The management of a co-working space can also ensure that secure shredding services are provided to the tenants so that all their documents can be disposed of and recycled securely. If a tenant experiences a data breach, the co-working space may also be taken to task by the PDPC[1] for failing to prevent the data breach from occurring.

Safeguarding work environments

  • Moreover, employees working in the co-working space need to ensure that they destroy all confidential data securely so that their organisation will not fall prey to information thieves or the threat of competitors snooping around for valuable company knowledge. For instance, they should use shredding services provided by the management of the co-working space instead of relying on their own office shredder to do the job.  

Start Protecting Your Business

An organisation that integrates personal data protection into its business processes can help reduce the risk of a data breach. Learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard-drives by contacting us for a free quote and a security risk assessment.



[1] PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION COMMISSION. (2018). Legislation and Guidelines. [online]. Personal Data Protection Commission. Available at