A strong emphasis on cybersecurity in the workplace is completely understandable. However, being so focused on the subject can make it easy for us to forget about other security risks, some of which are probably lying around your office.
Ensure you don’t turn your workspace into a criminal’s playground by keeping the following 9 items secure.
Office access cards
If you have an access card, tag, or badge for the office, never leave it lying around. Keep the card on you at all times to reduce the chances of it getting stolen and used for criminal activities.
The theft of your card could make it easy for a thief to access your office. It also may lead to disciplinary action against you, especially if your contract contains a clause that instructs you to keep secure on any company property issued to you.
The first instinct of some people when they receive or create a new password at the office is to write it down in a diary or notebook, on a piece of paper, or on a sticky note. According to a recent Digital Guardian survey on password security habits in the USA, 38.6% of 800 respondents said they wrote down their passwords on a piece of paper.
In a 2016 Kaspersky survey, 22% of over 12,500 respondents from 21 countries said they wrote down their passwords on a notepad. 11% said they wrote down their passwords on a piece of paper or sticky note kept near their computer.
Do not leave passwords on your desk or lying around your office. Even if someone doesn’t steal the piece of paper, they can memorise it or use their mobile to take a picture. Use a password manager to secure your passwords if you struggle to commit them to memory.
Wallets and purses
Stealing a wallet or purse can be like hitting the jackpot for a criminal. Apart from getting their hands on any banknotes or coins in your wallet, they could have a grand time using the information they can get from your ID card, bank cards, store cards, driver’s license, and other documents you keep in it.
Instead of stealing your wallet, a criminal might steal information by taking pics of your cards before replacing them and leaving your wallet as they found it. Keep your wallet on you or in a locked desk drawer.
Office, car, and home keys
Whether they’re your office, filing cabinet, desk, car, or home keys, leaving them lying around your office is a security risk. If they’re stolen, whoever has them can access important information, your private property, and potentially your loved ones. With that heightened security risk comes the cost of changing all the locks.
Don’t leave your keys on your desk or in any other easily accessible place. Consider using a key finder device with your keys, which can make it easier to find them if you misplace them.
The compact size of many USB drives makes them easy to steal, especially if they were left lying around on a cluttered desk. Also, USB drives usually aren’t encrypted, which means it’s Plug And Play for criminals who steal them. Add passwords to the folders on your USB drives to protect them, and keep your drives in a locked drawer, cabinet, or safe.
Unlocked phones and other devices
Leaving unlocked devices such as mobile phones, tablets, or your computer when you step away from your desk or pop out of the office for a couple of minutes is an enormous security risk. Someone could retrieve sensitive information, personal details, or media such as personal photographs within a few seconds.
Not locking mobile devices is especially risky if you save passwords, banking details, and similar information on them. Use the security settings on your phone and other devices to set them to lock when you stop using them.
Daily planners and calendars
Daily planners and calendars can easily become replacement notebooks and notepads, and they end up containing all sorts of private information. Leaving those items on your desk or lying around the office is an easy way for that information to get into the wrong hands. Lock planners and calendars in a drawer or cabinet when you’re not using them.
All sorts of information, sensitive or not, gets written on office whiteboards during meetings or over the course of a day. Not cleaning the board before leaving the meeting room or the office exposes sensitive or confidential information to people who aren’t meant to see it. Make sure you clean the whiteboard after using it. If you’ve used an easel with large sheets of paper, remove the sheets you used and file or dispose of them securely.
Documents and other paperwork
You’re putting yourself and potentially others at risk when you leave legal documents, contracts, physical mail, and other paperwork on your desk when you’re not present. Keep your paperwork in a locked drawer or security safe when you go to make a mug of tea, head out to lunch, or go home.
Protect yourself, protect your company
Sometimes even the most innocuous items left on your office desk can pose a security risk. Follow the above tips to protect yourself, your colleagues and your company.