Ron Wretham

Managing the disposal of confidential documents

Ron Wretham, Partner and Co-CEO, Investigative Solutions Network Inc.
Monday, March 31, 2014

How can a facility manager ensure the secure management and disposal of confidential documents?

Data theft continues to be a growing threat to businesses across Canada, exposing companies to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars in damage control costs.

A common belief is that data breaches only occur online. Few understand that unprotected paper documents are a major vulnerability in companies. Typically, 50 per cent of companies that have been affected by a data breach state that one or more of the crimes involved the loss or theft of paper documents.

It is imperative to educate professionals, especially facility managers, about the dangers of data breach and identity fraud. Facility managers are the first line of defence against data theft and must be the ones to implement data protection methods.

Many organizations lack resources and controls to secure paper documents, and do not have policies in place. A facility manager can be a leader in the workforce and ensure that confidential documents do not fall into the wrong hands by conducting a needs assessment and evaluating security weaknesses in the workplace.

The single most effective way to prevent the distribution of confidential documents and protect them from thieves is to ensure that they are properly destroyed and disposed of. The use of an off-site shredding company can be convenient and cost-effective.

Other procedures that a facility manager can use to protect company data include helping employees identify which documents could potentially lead to a breach and need to be properly protected. This can include employee records, client information, accounting reports and budgets, marketing and sales reports, and financial forecasts.

It is also important to instruct employees to avoid leaving documents in communal copiers, shared printing spaces and conference rooms, and ensure that paper documents are locked away in filing cabinets at the end of each day.

Data breaches are largely preventable. By learning more about the various prevention practices, facility managers can help ensure that their organization does not fall victim to this type of crime.

Ron Wretham is partner and co-CEO of Investigative Solutions Network Inc. ISN specializes in investigating multifaceted financial crimes attacks against corporations and individual victims, including securities-related fraud, scams, identity theft, credit/debit card fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.

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