Published 20th of July 2021

Every business holds some type of confidential document, which could be anything from company financial records to personal information about customers. All these types of records need to be protected as they contain sensitive information.

It’s important to remember by keeping your documents secure your business is complying with GDPR regulations by reducing your risk of severe penalties and data breaches.

Data Protection policies

Keeping your company policies up to date Is important to help safeguard the sensitive information your company holds, whether it’s paper-based or digital.

What you include in your company policies over handling confidential data is completely up to you and could be a simple ‘clean desk’ policy or a more complicated set of rules. Ensure you have good protection policies in place and train your employees, so they fully understand how to follow the policies without any confusion.

By implementing or updating your data protection policies you are certifying that no sensitive information is left exposed.

Are your paper documents secure?

Here are some common examples of the types of paper format documents you need to comply with GDPR rules and regulations and keep secure:

  • Customer/Client Information
  • Anything that contains personal data e.g., names, address, email, telephone, etc.
  • HR files
  • Financial documents
  • Medical Files

If you have any of the above documents, think about where they are kept and can they be easily found by malicious third parties. There are many easy things you can do to protect these documents like keeping the password protected or locking them away in filing cabinets.

Having a ‘clean desk’ policy ensures that paperwork isn’t left on desks or misplaced but they are instead locked away safely at the end of each working day.

Off-site document storage

Although there’s steps you can take to keep your documents secure at your office. These methods often take up a lot of space and rely on your employees to stick to your regulations. Often files need archiving if they are not needed daily but need to be kept long-term for GDPR purposes.

The best solution for archiving documents or creating space is to transfer your records from your office filing cabinets to a trusted secure off-site warehouse. A trusted supplier like Shredall SDS Group can collect and deliver your documents from archive to your office when needed or documents can be scanned straight to your desktop if needed immediately.

Risks of storing archived documents on-site

One of the biggest risks of storing your paper files on site is that a large room full of paper is a major fire risk. If your office was broken into it would be very easy for criminals to start a fire in your storage room, which would be devastating for your company and hard to recover if they’re the only copies.

There is also a risk of flooding from a burst pipe or natural disaster, resulting in water damage to your files making the paper useless and unreadable.

Lastly, if your office was broken into, they could steal your valuable data to commit business fraud or ID theft.

What you can do to reduce risks

There are a few steps you can take to protect your confidential documents and reduce the above risks.

  1. Implement a policy to ensure staff prioritise sensitive documents and keep them secure at all times. Arrange for electronic scanning of these documents so they are kept digitally instead of in the office.
  1. Arrange for secure off-site confidential document storage for the hard copies you need to archive long-term. These facilities have the highest security and are flood/fireproof.
  1. Take a look at your current companies’ policy and structure to identify what needs to be kept secure and what you can do to handle your confidential documents securely.