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Small businesses offered guide to data security

New Statesman Tech is generally aimed at the larger enterprise but since it’s Small Business Week in the US (surely you knew, started on Sunday 1 May) we’ll make an exception and comment that Shred-It has published a guide to some basic steps to avoid security risks.

These include implementing a shredding policy – we’d never have guessed, but it does make sense – of all paper documents before they’re recycled. Half of us says this is extreme and you don’t need to shred them all; the other half says you’d need to pay someone to sort through them to have a more adaptable policy so “shred the lot” is probably more efficient.

All electronic devices should be encrypted. It’s surprising how many organisations overlook this. A policy of clearing the desk or taking sensitive information off the desktop before an employee vacates their workstation would also save a lot of trouble, and remembering that someone needs to keep an eye on the printer when sensitive documents are being put into hard copy is also good.

The final piece of advice is to have a “security ambassador” – this is a polite way of saying “make someone accountable”. This is surprisingly effective. When someone thinks their job is on the line, things tend to get done.