Data breaches cost companies millions of dollars every year, both directly and indirectly. There’s irreversible damage to a business’ reputation plus massive fines for non-compliance with the data destruction and retention laws.
Yet stories of data breaches in the workplace have become all too common these days. And while most business owners are aware they need to implement a solution to prevent electronic threats, many overlook the risks of keeping hard copies of confidential and critical documents in unsecure locations.
Just like confidential digital information such as passwords and files, stolen documents can wreak havoc for companies. But with proper security measures in place – including a document management and shredding program – workplace data breaches can be prevented.
How Document Shredding Can Help You Combat Data Breaches
While it’s essential for businesses to store documents that are personal and proprietary, it’s equally critical to have a process for proper disposal and shredding of these documents.
Once the documents are no longer required, you should shred them. Not only will this prevent workplace breaches, it will also help keep your workplace organized and free-up storage space. How can there be a data breach if there’s no data? However, it’s important to note that document shredding can only provide protection to the extent that you shred regularly, shred the right documents, and work with an experienced shredding professional.
Other Tips for Preventing Workplace Breaches
Here are guidelines everyone in your organization should follow to help prevent both offline and online data breaches.
- Don’t leave computers unattended and unlocked. As much as possible, lock devices using screen locks. Thirty percent of companies have more than 1,000 sensitive folders open to everyone.
- Don’t delay patching. Software companies frequently issue patches – software updates — to fix security issues and other risk areas in your computer and network systems. Any delay in patching can provide hackers the opportunity to steal your data. When you learn that a patch is available, run the update. Did you know that not applying a regular security patch cost Equifax approximately $400 to $600 million?
- Avoid using sticky notes for keeping confidential data and information handy. Whether you’re taking notes during an important meeting or recording any financial information while on a call, it’s a bad practice to leave this kind of information visible to people passing by. This isn’t to suggest you shouldn’t trust your employees; it’s a matter of ensuring that other people who come in and out of your office don’t have access to private data.
- Don’t click on phishing email attachments or links. You may get emails and text messages that look legitimate, but these phishing scams can expose you to hackers or malware. Therefore, make sure you check the URL twice before clicking it — 93% of malware comes from emails.
- Don’t leave important documents/papers containing confidential data and information in meeting rooms.
- Improve password security. There are several free tools on the internet that allow hackers to crack passwords without much effort. Eighty-one percent of workplace breaches result from poor passwords. Even though 91% of people understand that reusing poor passwords is not a good practice, 59% of them reuse passwords for their convenience. You’ll be shocked to know that the Dropbox data breach that led to the stealing of 60 million user credentials began with an employee reusing passwords at work.
Data breaches are getting costlier every year. According to a study conducted by Ponemon Institute LLC last year, the average total cost of a data breach was $3.86 million. A big part of that cost? The unexpected loss of customers following a data breach.
Don’t risk the theft of your customers’ or employees’ records and potentially jeopardize your business. Make it a priority to set up systems to secure both online and offline data.Back to Blog