The work-from-home trend may have taken off in 2020, but preliminary surveys show that it’s a trend that may be here to stay. In 2021, 1 in 4 Americans will likely be working from home, and now that managers have ironed out the challenges initially presented by a transfer to remote work, they’re more likely to let employees work from home or establish a part-time home office. There’s a lot to be celebrated about home offices – better time flexibility, less lost time on unnecessary meetings – but there is one issue that still creates a challenge, and that comes in the form of document security.
If you work in an industry that handles the confidential or personally identifiable information (PII) of customers or clients, then you’re a custodian of some of the most valuable information anyone can ever hold. At an office, security protocol can be standardized across a building, internal servers, and even different ID badges. The same can’t be said for a home office – every employee will have different room availability, different internet literacy, and different levels of education regarding document security.
There are four very simple things you can do to immediately secure your home office if you haven’t already. Once these are in place, you should be able to confidently protect any information placed into your care.
1. Keep Your Office Private
The simplest way to protect personal information is to restrict access to it. Many home offices are set up in a spare room or in the corner of a designated space. If your home office can be protected with a lock on the door, install one. A work computer can’t be used to play video games if other family members are prevented from accessing it at all. Similarly, papers can’t be lost, damaged, or stolen if you’re the only one who can physically acquire them. Only allow visitors in while you can supervise, and when you end work for the day, lock the door behind you.
2. Lock Up Confidential Papers
Even if your office is secured, you have to plan for all possible contingencies. Suppose a thief breaks in through the window, or you forget to lock the door and a young family member enters in search of coloring paper. Wherever you’re storing confidential documents in your office, like a file cabinet or metal safe, make sure that they can be locked to prevent anyone accessing them except yourself.
3. Password-Protect Your Internet
To be clear, when you hear that you should password-protect your home internet connection, we don’t mean a simple password of “SmithFamily12345”. A good, solid password should be one that’s long, randomized, and extraordinarily hard to guess. If you’re having trouble creating one on your own, there are plenty of free password generators available to use. You’ll also want to make sure that no one can access it remotely, and that all firmware is kept updated.
4. Never Discard Documents in Your Public Trash
One of the very worst things you can possibly do for confidential documents is to discard them in the public trash. Once you relinquish control – that is, once you leave them in your trash can or bundled into a trash bag – then you have no guarantee that they’ll ever make it to the public dump. A single piece of paper is enough for a thief to gain access to personal financial accounts, so what could they do with a whole bag full of private documents?
Instead, have your documents securely destroyed by a scheduled document shredding service. In fact, this can even be coordinated with the rest of your remote workforce. Mobile shredding services provide industry-grade, fully compliant document destruction right at your location. All you have to do is hand over the documents you’d like to shred (you don’t even need to worry about removing staples or rubber bands). Your items will be cross-cut into tiny pieces, about the size of fine confetti, and securely transported for recycling.
Convenient & Effective Mobile Shredding Services
Protecting information is a vital task, no matter whether you’re at the office building or working from your own home office. Mobile shredding services make it easy to ensure compliance with the latest privacy regulations without having to invest in expensive equipment or sacrifice valuable time throughout your day. Secure Shredding & Recycling delivers scheduled document shredding services straight to your location, and if you only have a few boxes to shred, we also offer off-site shredding at our secure facility.
To learn more about our mobile shredding services, including scheduled document shredding directly to your door, give us a call at (225) 751-8535 or send us a message online.