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January 5, 2017

Our 2017 Recommendations for Better Business Information Security

Information Security is a hot-button issue for businesses small and large. Unfortunately, most business owners tend to underestimate the risks posed by inadequate document and electronic information security practices.

PROSHRED® Indianapolis is a leader in document security. With over 30 years of experience in document shredding and destruction, the PROSHRED® name has become synonymous with simple, effective solutions. Here are PROSHRED® Indianapolis’ recommendations for better security in 2017.

Know the Risks
All too many companies assume a level of risk with their stored documentation that could literally put them out of business. When unauthorized access to sensitive materials is allowed – inadvertently or not – businesses (owners, tech teams, administrative employees) can face severe legislative and/or regulatory penalties. Additionally, large breaches of security can even put business owners at a personal financial risk. A recent case in Indiana, in fact, saw a local business owner incur well over $300,000 in costs and penalties for not having an effective means of safe guarding electronic data used in their business! Understanding the gravity of your information security needs is important. A few of the most highly-regulated industries for information security include the financial, legal, and medical sectors, among many others.

Implement (Easy-to-Follow) Best Practices
Having a document destruction plan in place doesn’t do much good if employees don’t follow it. Studies have shown that when faced with jammed office shredders or filled shredding bins, employees often simply throw confidential information in the closest recycling bin, “ignoring  the risk.” It is imperative that business owners provide their employees with simple solutions for document destruction that are actually easier to adhere to than recycling. These can include at-desk shredding containers, daily clean desk and shredding policies, and other customized plans depending on business type and size.

Craft a Comprehensive Policy
Making a Document Retention Policy top-of-mind for staff who regularly handle printed documentation and electronic information is key in protecting those assets. The policy should clearly outline which documents are to be kept in permanent, secure storage (audits, payroll registers, legal correspondence, corporate records, etc.) and which are to be professionally destroyed after a period of seven years (IRS forms 1099 and W-2, Invoices, Vendor Contracts, financial reports, etc.). Some industries such as medical and education have specific time limits on documentation that should be known and followed.

Clean Out Storage Areas
If it’s important enough to place in a filing cabinet, isn’t it important enough to be securely destroyed once it’s no longer needed? Many businesses, particularly SMBs, find themselves too time-strapped to regularly clean out filing cabinets, storage closets, and document storage boxes. These areas present concentrated risk for business owners, leaving hundreds and sometimes thousands of documents vulnerable to misuse. At least once a year, businesses should go through all filing cabinets and storage closets, and thoroughly evaluate stored documentation to determine whether it’s time to shred.

Don’t Ignore Electronic Media
Many businesses have integrated comprehensive document destruction practices into their daily, weekly, and monthly routines but neglect to consider the impact of electronic data.   “Cyber security” is a real and present threat, and businesses have the onus to be proactive in the space. Not only is it critical to maintain a secure website (particularly if the site supports e-commerce) destroying the stored data contained in obsolete equipment is also a necessary investment. When upgrading computers, cleaning out storage areas, and turning over staff, businesses should retain the services of a mobile hard drive destruction provider each and every time to ensure no stored data falls into the wrong hands.

PROSHRED® Indianapolis is a leading name in convenient document destruction offering one-time purge shredding, regularly scheduled on-site shredding, and mobile hard drive destruction. For more information on best practices regarding information security in the greater Indianapolis area and beyond, contact PROSHRED® today at 317.578.3650.

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