• 1/3 of companies have no plans to manage confidential data safely
  • Shred-it warns companies of extra risk during sporting events

Consumers’ personal information is being put at risk as documents are taken out of offices as more employees work from home over the next two weeks, according to data released today from the UK’s leading document destruction firm.

Shred-it has warned that any business not providing clear advice to staff on how to look after data outside of their normal working environment, will expose their company to the risk of steep fines and criminal prosecution if they suffer a data breach.

Robert Guice, Vice President, Shred-it EMEA says: “Keeping data safe should be seen as vital for any business. All employees taking confidential information out of the office should be aware of company security protocols. If a company still does not have any in place, Shred-it is releasing a simple and effective guide to help. Don’t let it be you that leaves sensitive information on the train or in a coffee shop!”

Shred-it’s top tips to keeping data safe this summer will help any employee whose company does not provide them with sufficient guidance to make sure they are not responsible for losing confidential customer or company data.

  1. Assume that all business documents are confidential and only take them out of the work place if it is absolutely necessary
  2. Do not print off any confidential information from laptops or computers unless absolutely necessary. Use email or digital storage devices that are password protected
  3. If printing documents, make sure they are transported in a secure manner
  4. Manage the destruction of documents at home as you would in your workplace. If necessary, take any documents that require destruction back to work in a secure manner.
  5. Take particular care if you are working in communal public spaces over this period such as coffee shops or the park – don’t leave anything behind or in public bins!
  6. Ask your secure destruction provider to supply confidential disposal bags for staff who are working from home.

Robert Guice added “Enjoy the flexible working hours, but do not forget to use your common sense and always remember to treat confidential information in the same way you would in the workplace.”

Recent research has found that three in ten businesses will allow employees to work from home over the course of the festivities, yet over one-third (35.4%) of the UK-based SMEs responding to a recent Shred-it survey, revealed they do not have any protocols in place for the secure storage and destruction of the confidential customer information they hold.

Only 6 per cent of businesses are concerned about security issues associated with the increase in homeworking during the event. Two thirds of companies also expect it to have no impact on their business as usual, according to Shred-it’s recent survey.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has the power to fine businesses up to half a million pounds for data breaches. Businesses across the country could find themselves facing fines for data breaches if they fail to implement security procedures for employees working from home.