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Data Breach Prevention: Do You Do Any of THESE Work Habits? You May Be Compromising Your Work Security

If you’re guilty of any of these work habits, you may be more susceptible to a data breach than you realize.

In 2016, reported data breaches increased by 40%.  Yahoo also announced the largest data breach in history last year, affecting more than one billion accounts. More recently, Equifax made it known that hackers broke into its computers and stole key personal data — including social security numbers, names, addresses and dates of birth — from an estimated 143 million Americans.  With these staggering security statistics, it’s a time for businesses to take a closer look at the security work habits of their staff.  If you’re guilty of any of these mishaps, it’s time to make a change.

NOT CLEANING YOUR DESK

Do you keep papers around your desk area? Do you often leave client information out in the open for wandering eyes to see? Following a clean desk policy can help your business reduce the risk of information theft, fraud, or a security breach caused by sensitive information being left unattended and visible in plain view.  A clean desk policy ensures that all important documents, confidential letters, binders, and books are removed from a desk and locked away when the items are not in use or an employee leaves his/her workstation.  It is one of the top strategies to utilize when trying to reduce the risk of security breaches.

USING WORK COMPUTERS ON PUBLIC HOTSPOTS

If you use your work computer when away from the office, be sure to take caution when using public WiFi hotspots.  Hackers may be able to access public networks and see any information you send over them, including bank account numbers, logins and passwords, and other confidential business information.  If you’re using public WiFi to surf the Web, be sure to have your device “forget” the network to ensure your safety.

HANGING ONTO OLD HARD DRIVES AND DEVICES

If you’re in the habit of stockpiling old computers and devices, you’re leaving yourself open for a security breach.  Just because a hard drive is old, it doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible.  Data thieves are very skilled at what they do, and will stop at nothing to make sure they can get the information they want.  The best and most secure method of rendering hard drive information completely unusable is to completely destroy it through hard drive shredding.

TOSSING FILES OR PAPERS IN THE TRASH

No one ever thinks of garbage as valuable, but to an identity theft, your trash can become another person’s treasure. There is a paper trail of garbage that contains some of our most personal information. Don’t throw anything in the trash that is questionable. Consider using a locked bin for items that should be shredded and leave the trash receptacle out of it.

NOT INSTITUTING A SHRED-ALL POLICY

Why even bother with the trash when so much is at risk?  The most important asset of your business is your data, whether it’s client information, proprietary product information, marketing plans, and even employee information.  If this information falls into the wrong hands, you risk identity theft, product theft, intellectual property theft — the list goes on.  Aside from keeping documents and files locked, the best way to boost your privacy is have a shred-all policy. A shred-all policy simplifies the process of document destruction; where there might be confusion over what to shred versus what to toss, shred-all is exactly that. Shred everything, no matter what. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Is it time for you to reconsider your work habits?

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