We've all seen the headlines: Medical records uncovered in a Dumpster, credit card numbers stolen from our favorite retailers and identity fraud at businesses in our own communities. Identity theft and data breach crimes are everywhere. What many people don't realize is that when they don't protect their company's confidential information at work, they're not just putting their employer, clients and customers at risk - they're endangering themselves and their co-workers, too.
The Fellowes' Workplace Data Security Report found that 81 percent of full-time business employees have access to paper documents containing sensitive workplace information, yet only 62 percent cite their company as having a data security policy on which employees are trained. Some of those untrained employees may be leaving their companies vulnerable to a security breach, as the survey also reports that nearly a quarter of employees leave sensitive paper documents on top of their desks.
"Whether electronic or in paper form, confidential information in the workplace is a hot item for theft, and the methods employed by criminals to obtain this information are constantly evolving," says John Sileo, an identity theft expert. "With smart prevention measures, you can help your company avoid a costly breach that can lead to personal consequences - like identity theft."
Sileo offers five key pieces of advice when speaking with business employees:
1. Lock your office when you leave for the day to prevent anyone accessing it after hours.
2. Ensure your computer is locked with a secure password containing a unique combination of letters and numbers.
3. Ask your IT department to check that your firewall is secure and up to date.
4. Don't leave paper documents on your desk or in common printing areas and store important documents in a locked filing cabinet.
5. Shred unneeded documents.