In a matter of weeks, companies have shifted from working in office settings to having employees work from home as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many businesses operate under strict regulations regarding data privacy and security and now have to find ways to adapt those regulations to a work from home environment.
Within the corporate office, paper shredding and other security measures are usually worked into the daily routine, and done quickly and easily. Many offices that need to protect large amounts of paper data will have bins and paper shredders available to their employees but once they move into a home environment those resources are no longer at hand.
As a result, each company will need to evaluate its data security and privacy needs as part of their work from home procedure to come up with the solutions that are tailored to their needs. Those new data security policies will allow the work from home environment to be as secure and protected as the office environment.
In drafting these policies, there are certain elements companies may want to consider if they are dealing with paper files.
Firstly, you will need to consider the physical files – paper – and what steps can be taken to keep them secured when they are no longer in the office setting.
One option is to provide employees working with sensitive documents at home with a company-issued paper shredder. In a lower volume setting a home paper shredder would be sufficient to keep sensitive personal data and other information safe.
If employees regularly work with high volumes of paper files, then a home shredder may fill up too quickly to be practical during the stay at home period. For circumstances such as these, a company may want to consider hiring a commercial paper shredding company that can pick up the documents at the employee’s home and dispose of it safely and securely.
Alternatively, it may be effective to switch to digital files if paper documents are not strictly necessary. Digital documents and a “no print” policy will eliminate or reduce the need for at-home paper shredding altogether, and reduces the risk of files being mislaid or lost.
Digital files can be overwritten or deleted to destroy documents with sensitive information. An IT department can design a home computer data deletion schedule which will work both during and after the pandemic for employees who work from home. Both Secure Erase command sets and disk wipes are recommended for computer data security by the Department of Homeland Security.
Sensitive data can also be overwritten by employees working from home to remove sensitive information from their computers. There are specific programs designed to do that, which will protect sensitive information.