5 Tips to Avoid Confidential Information Theft

Posted by Ray Barry

Confidential information and trade secrets are often the targets of identity thieves and disgruntled employees. The Trademarks Act, Copyright Act and Patent Act do not regulate many trade secrets or any confidential information. This means that you have to protect this information yourself. Security compliance should be taught at your place of employment or your business if you are a business owner.

What Are Trade Secrets and Confidential Information?

Even a small business could have trade secrets. For a small family-run business, types of confidential information could be recipes for a restaurant or a piece of software that you or your employees designed for a retail establishment or HR management. The confidential information definition is any information about employees and management in a business.

5 Tips to Avoid Confidential Information Theft

Learning how to maintain confidentiality in the workplace is not difficult if you follow security compliance rules.

Control Access

One of the easiest ways to protect confidential business documents is to control access to documents. Employee records should only be accessed by those who need to know. HR might have access to most documents, but even some of them should only be accessed by supervisors or managers in HR. Create password-protected files on the computer to restrict digital access to sensitive information including trade secrets. If you need to put information or trade secrets in several files to control access, you should do that. For example, if you have a restaurant a baker doesn’t need access to recipes a sauce prep chef has access to and vice versa.

Locking Document Storage

Keep confidential documents in locked filing cabinets. For even better protection, keep the filing room locked. Only those who need access to these documents should have a key to the room, and each person should have a key to only the filing cabinets they need access to. If you have a card key system, you could also monitor anyone who accesses the room.

Secure Delivery

Should you have to deliver secure documents, make sure you use a trusted courier service. If possible, it’s better to have the documents delivered by a trusted employee. Part of your handling confidential information best practices guidelines should be a good encryption program for delivering digital documents via email or a file-sharing program.

Confidential Waste Bins

When you no longer need documents, protect business information by using locked shredding boxes to hold the documents. Most people need to clear out their filing cabinets of “clutter,” meaning files that you are no longer required to keep. If those files are not returned to the customer, they should be professionally shredded. Carolina Shred provides locked shred boxes so that you are able to clear these files out of your filing cabinets as they become obsolete instead of trying to clear them out all at one time.

Employee Training

Employees are your biggest risk for leaked or stolen documents. Learning how to keep information confidential is part of training your employees and ensuring that they understand the importance of keeping certain documents under lock and key. This helps with preventing honest mistakes. However, malicious employees are harder to handle. For this type of breach, you need to restrict access to documents. Training for employees may be done by an outside agency or in-house. If you do use in-house training, be sure to provide confidential business information examples so that your employees have no question as to what confidential information entails.

Contact Carolina Shred

As part of your security compliance regimen, contact Carolina Shred to discuss your shredding needs. We will help you create a schedule to pick up your filled lockboxes to shred in our mobile shredding truck. We also shred digital storage including hard drives and USB drives.