Published 22nd of November 2019

Findings for the year ending March 2019 CSEW estimated that the number of fraud incidents (3.8 million) increased by 17% from the previous year. The increase was driven mainly by a 15% rise in bank and credit account fraud, with a smaller volume in consumer and retail fraud. With the number of reported offences increasing, it is important to keep your information secure and for businesses to ensure they are protected against white collar crime.

Why is this happening?

A key facilitator of corporate fraud and espionage is the incorrect handling of sensitive paper documents. By mishandling files in the office and not storing or disposing of them securely, businesses risk giving malicious third-parties access to their private data, consequently leading to costly data breaches.

Employees who leave documents unattended often do so because of how their office is organised. Think about where you put your paper recycling in the office - is it a little recycling bin tucked away by your desk or in the corner of your office? Placing a recycling bin in a remote part of the office will discourage employees from disposing of their paper documents in an environmentally-friendly, secure manner.The same rule applies for your office shredder. The further away the shredder is, the most likely it will sit idle somewhere in the office. Let’s face it, who’s going to go through the trouble of getting up from their desk and walking all the way to the shredder when there’s a bin so close to them?

Any good criminal knows this, they know that if a company has no formal document management policy for storing and destroying confidential information, employees will choose the recycling bin over the shredder as it’s simply the easier option.

Who is committing the crime?

Who knows what value of information is being tossed into your recycling bins? The obvious answer is your employees. The crime itself is safe, easy and virtually impossible to detect. Just think of how exposed your information is while it sits in the bin or, once gathered, is left unattended by a communal printer or in a plastic bag.

How can you protect your business from this white collar crime and keep your confidential information safe?

The security and confidentiality of information inside your organisation is too important to be left to the discretion of each individual employee. You need to remove choice from the equation and make the desired behaviour easy and automatic.

Here’s how your business can manage and dispose of confidential documents:

  • Identify security loopholes at every stage of the information cycle, from data generation and storage to the transfer of data from location to location and eventually to document destruction.
  • Implement a policy where all paper documents are securely shredded on a regular basis
  • Get rid of your exposed recycling bins and introduce secure lockable consoles
  • Show that your management team are committed to the total security of your business and customer information.
  • Train your employees to know your policies well and follow them correctly
  • Conduct sporadic security audits to ensure documents are securely being destroyed
  • If you don’t have the resources to shred your own documents securely, work with a third-party supplier like Shredall SDS Group to manage your documents.