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October 8, 2021

Eliminate Risk: How a Clean Desk Policy Can Protect Your Company

Life in a busy office can be hectic, especially if that office still uses paper documents to perform daily tasks.

Documents are often left piled up on desks, binders are left open and exposed, and sensitive company records are placed where anyone can see them.

While these documents are essential for doing business, they often create a pile of data spread across desks, creating a potential threat to the company. Not only do messy desks make information more difficult to be found when needed, but exposing this data risks it being found by the wrong people.

Keeping documents stored when not in use, computers guarded from unauthorized persons, and old hard drives locked up are all part of a simple information security practice that can be implemented by any office.

A clean desk policy, or secure desk policy, protects businesses from information leaks during office hours. This extra layer of data protection is waiting to be used at no extra cost by companies across the country.

What is a clean desk policy?

Secure desk policies are all about reducing the risk of sensitive information being leaked inside and outside an office. The main purpose of these policies is to help develop workflow practices that guard against data breaches and to alert employees of the dangers of leaving private information out in the open. This could be information contained on a sticky note or in a file.

The exact policies can easily be adjusted by the company, making it an adaptive option for any business. Overall, the main goal should always be to keep private information tucked away when not in use.

Confidential information should be kept locked in drawers, filing cabinets, or storage rooms. This also allows desks to stay neat because papers and other items are kept where they belong.

Many companies also choose to implement a “clear screen” policy, which requires employees to log off their computer when they leave their desk. The goal is similar to a clean desk policy: to safeguard sensitive information some employees may not be authorized to access.

Clean Desk Policy
Implementing a Clean Desk Policy

Benefits of a Clean Desk Policy

There are many benefits to a secure desk policy aside from the added protection of sensitive information:

  • Clean desk policies are easy to enforce and should cause only minor changes in everyday routine. For example, rather than leaving a file on the desk, simply putting it back in the filing cabinet before lunch is a secure practice.
  • Clean desk policies are free to implement and won’t add any extra charges for a business.
  • Clean desk policies can be implemented within the business and don’t require outside assistance.
  • Clean desk policies can increase productivity at work through organization. As a bonus, this tidy practice means the office will look great!

How to Implement a Clean Desk Policy

Interested in this easy yet effective policy? Any business wanting to protect against information leaks and security breaches can benefit from their employees having secure desks.

Here are some of the ways that your business can get having an internal information security policy:

Inform Staff of the New Policy
To use the secure desk policy in an office, the entire staff will need to know about the new policy. The first step is to make employees aware of how the policy works and everything it includes. You’ll need to provide direction and explain the process to everyone so that the whole office is on board with the new procedures. Try to lead by example and show employees how it’s done by keeping a clear desk when away and making use of storage locks.

Put the New Policy in Writing
To avoid confusion, the clear desk policy needs to be transparent to everyone in the office. The best way is by outlining your newly added practice in writing. That way, employees can refer to it as needed, and policy expectations will be clearly listed. Employees are more likely to be able to follow procedures if the details are on record. The policy should be listed somewhere that every staff member has access to, such as in their employee handbooks.

Use Reminders Until the Policy Becomes a Habit
To keep the policy working effectively, employees may need to be reminded often at the beginning of policy implementation. Posters in common areas or online memos can be used to keep employees on track. Make sure to include details on how to follow the policy to ensure it is carried out properly. Compliance is critical for a successful clear desk policy that properly protects company information. Check up on employees to see how well the policy is being followed and if anyone has questions.

Don’t Forget to Keep Digital Information Safe, Too
Sharing files online is a safer alternative to handling printed information because it’s an easy way to keep a clear desk. Just lock your computer with a password to ensure information stays guarded from prying eyes while unattended. Sending documents electronically also reduces desk clutter and helps save money on paper. What can be seen on your computer screen or a flash drive left on the open desk is still at risk.


Need Paper Shredding? We’re Experts in Information Security.

The experts at PROSHRED® Georgia have plenty of knowledge to offer on information security. As a secure document disposal and hard drive destruction company, we have been efficiently handling the private information of businesses for years. Many of the documents and hard drives that we destroy come from office buildings looking for a proper way to dispose of their sensitive information as a result of implementing clean desk policies and procedures.

We take care of information that’s no longer needed. While a clean desk policy is a step towards secure data in the workplace, our expert shredders can destroy any old documents or hard drives to ensure it’s gone for good. You can call today to schedule a document shredding service or get a free quote. Information destruction could be right around the corner. Call 678-580-1155 today.

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