Is your confidential information really secure?
Human resource data. Medical information. Personal and financial data. Proprietary information including trade secrets, client rates and services information. Every business has information that needs to be secure. But with social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, it’s easier than ever for employees to share company information online and they may not even realize the potential harm they may be causing. Confidentiality in the workplace is a growing issue for many businesses regardless of size or industry. With information growing at such an astonishing rate, and knowing that you can’t monitor personnel all day long, are you confident that what you’re doing to protect this information is enough?
Knowing how crucial protecting your sensitive information is, how do you maintain confidentiality in your workplace?
- Conduct background checks – Make sure a background check has been completed for all employees prior to being hired. Be particularly vigilant with staff that needs access to sensitive materials. Don’t be afraid to conduct background checks at random for these personnel.
- Secure data – Lock files and limit access with keys and passwords. Change passwords frequently, install firewalls and virus protection and remember to encrypt electronic data that is sent and received. You also may want to consider converting all hard copy files to electronic format and then housing all sensitive files on a secure online repository.
- Limit access – Be extremely selective when giving out keys or passwords. Allow access only to those needing to see the information to perform their job.
- Create a social media policy – Every business should be aware that electronic records are held to the same retention standards as traditional records. Online content, including social media, may be requested in e-discovery, court cases or audit situations.
- Properly destroy sensitive information – Shred all documents and electronic media that contain sensitive information. Seek out a third-party that can not only shred your information and recycle the paper documents, but can provide you with a certificate of destruction.
- Review third-party vendor policies – Take time to talk with any third-parties about their security procedures. Review your agreements with them and if you’re concerned about their practices, make sure these issues are addressed immediately.
- Raise awareness – Communicate to staff how crucial keeping sensitive information secure is to you and the business. Develop policies and procedures that staff must follow when handling sensitive information. Clearly communicate these policies to staff to ensure compliance.
By maintaining the confidentiality standards in the workplace, an organization not only protects itself from legal headaches but improves the employee productivity as well by providing them with a secure and safe work environment.