How to Best Securely Handle Documents in a Modern Office


Friday, January 10, 2020 / 6:37 PM / Sponsored Post / Pete McAllister / Header Image Credit: 4probate and wills


In many offices there are documents and forms used that are sensitive or require security for other reasons. It could be for reasons such as customer confidentiality, or protecting company secrets from the competition. Whatever the reason it's very important to have systems in place to protect these documents from leaks, either deliberately or by accident.


Have a Very Controlled List of Access

Don't allow just anyone access to all documents in the workplace. Just because they work there doesn't necessarily mean they need to see everything. Even if all your staff are essentially trustworthy it's a good idea to limit what they see to what they need to do their job. If you come up with a system and ensure all staff are aware of it then it saves conflict or disciplinary action later on if something has been viewed when you'd rather it hadn't.


Be Sure to Create a Secure Area for Physical Files

Although a lot of work is done is almost paperless offices these days there are a lot of instances where a physical copy is required. Examples of this are legal documents, financial documents and anything that requires a signature. For documents such as these, it's important to have a secure area that they are placed in, this could be a locked filing cabinet or safe and in extreme examples even a vault.


Know How Documents Are Transferred

Document transfer is key these days and if possible you should have a work-flow system that everyone uses, such as Slack. The use of personal email accounts should be prohibited, don't be a Hilary Clinton! But it's not all just purely digital security, if you have paper files to transfer be careful if they are sensitive not to use regular mail, a secure courier or even your own staff hand-delivering can be the best. Even if you find an online fax service you need to consider that although it's digital at your end is it printing in a communal office at the other end?


Ensure Old Files Are Destroyed

There are two reasons you would want to ensure the destruction of old files. Firstly it may be a legal requirement due to data legislation that you are not allowed to keep info on old customers after a certain length of time. Secondly, it is useful to make sure you clear out space and avoid clutter, it makes it easier to find the ones that you currently need.


Digital Security is Key

All digital files must be safe and encrypted to ensure no unwanted access. These days this is more important than it ever has been as most work-places look to have files available on a cloud system and this creates a very real and problematic security issue. You can password protect and encrypt files but you also need to be sure that staff are well trained on not using portable usb sticks and also insecure messaging platforms such as Facebook.


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