Remove paper from process to secure home working
We like to be helpful. Senta has recently joined forces with Darren Strong of Focus Technology - who provide specialist technology support for accountants - to keep our clients up to date with the latest thoughts around digital security. The second piece in our series tackles the tricky topic of securing data in the wake of the home working revolution.
As a business, securing the data you use every day in your accountancy practice isn’t easy - and this past year it has proven to be even more difficult.
As home working grows in popularity, organisations that fail to adequately plan are putting themselves at greater risk of a security breach taking place.
Working from home presents a unique problem for employees who have sensitive data and may be unable to securely destroy it after it is no longer needed. Unlike in an office, most homes do not have paper shredders or secure shred bins, and most home computers do not have systems that automatically delete electronic data. Every company is different, and there is not a single “right” solution to this problem.
The printing problem
To help employers with their data security, we’ve noted a few things to consider around colleagues who print information at home:
Track and trace
It’s important to keep track of this material - especially if it contains personal and sensitive information that you cannot find online. If this sort of information is briefed, you’re obligated to report it to your client - and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Reduce the need for printing
Assess your processes to understand how necessary printing is in order to accomplish a particular task. Are there improvements that can be made using technology in order to negate the need for printing?
Here are a couple of ideas to reduce the need for printing:
- Turning physical data/paper into digital within an application as soon as received into the firm.
- Linking and sharing data. This will reduce some manual process steps and the duplication of data input, that in turn could reduce the need to print.
Document how you destroy sensitive printed material
Think about implementing an Internal Data Destruction policy that takes into account the destruction of data both in the office and at home. When considering at-home data destruction options, companies should consider:
- Purchase home shredders for each employee. This may be a good option if employees regularly handle papers containing sensitive personal data or information.
- Establish a “no-print” policy, prohibiting employees from printing at home or taking physical documents to their homes.
- Enforce technical configurations and compliance to prohibit printing of documents marked as sensitive.
Guidance for employees
The ICO share some good tips for data protection and working from home.
At the office, it is likely you can use confidential waste bins. At home, you won’t have that facility. Follow your organisation’s guidance or safely store print outs until you can take them into the office and dispose of them securely.
Where possible, lock away print outs and devices at the end of the working day to avoid loss or theft of personal data, put print outs and devices away.
If you're interested in trying a safe and secure practice management solution for your practice, try Senta free for 30 days.