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Have you performed an information risk assessment on your paper files lately?

In a world reliant on technology, smart phones, apps and super servers, often the security focus stays firmly on IT and cyber safety. Yet have you thought about the risk posed in an attack on your paper files?

In 1975, Business Week published an article heralding the paperless office. Decades later the promise of a paperless office has not been fulfilled, and it probably won’t be anytime soon.

Paper continues to be a dominant medium for mortgages, legal contracts and a number of other official documents that need to be carefully reviewed and signed every day.

Paper is a highly integrated part of day-to-day operations across almost every industry. Organisations that don’t take secure storage and destruction of critical documents seriously are tempting fate.

SydneyShred recommends a document risk assessment that identifies areas of vulnerability and opportunities for improvement. These include:

Personal Access Levels

Where critical paper documents are stored must be secure on a number of levels. Personnel access should be limited to only those who need the information, and their access should be monitored at all times.

Paper-saving technologies

Documents should be as safe as possible from elements like fire and water. Fire prevention systems and non-water fire suppressant alternatives can minimise risk to paper records. The average corporation can spend US$204 for every lost document. In the event of a fire, burst water pipe or natural disaster, those costs can inflate exponentially in a matter of days, even hours.

Off-site Storage

Some organizations do not have the space or resources to employ high-level security measures and opt to store documents off-site. SydneyShred recommends businesses investigate the storage provider’s reputation. What security measures do they employ? Who has access to documents and what is its response time when documents are needed? Is its chain of custody secure and how are documents destroyed?

Securely Destroy Unnecessary Documents

After a document’s lifecycle has run its course, it must be properly destroyed. There are countless ways to improperly do away with obsolete paper documents, and the end result can be catastrophic. The same personnel and security considerations taken with storage should apply to destruction. SydneyShred takes responsibility for handling, transporting and destruction of its clients’ document – and this chain of security handling is critical to avoiding the nightmares associated with lost documents.

Paper isn’t going anywhere. The question is, “What are you doing with it?”

For advice on conducting a risk assessment of your document handling processes and policies, contact SydneyShred.


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