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How to make sure your office is a security asset

Information is one of an organisation’s most valuable assets. With more data flowing within and between organisations, there is an ongoing challenge to safeguard information against evolving internal and external threats.

With a burgeoning volume of smartphones, tablets and connected devices, sometimes the biggest threats come from the devices we take most for granted. As a result, IT and data security teams are constantly charged with ensuring security threats are minimised.

Create a security culture

The combined efforts of the workforce and the technology in the office must act as the first line of defence when it comes to information security. While the influx of new and advanced technologies in the workplace will continue to attract a lot of attention, phones left on trains, conversations held in public places and confidential documents left on printers will continue to challenge security teams everywhere. After all, information takes many forms and people in many guises will always represent risk. Amidst the buzz around IoT, it’s easy to forget that connected printers and scanners form part of this growing ecosystem.

Nearly one in two (47%) managers of businesses across EMEA are aware of instances of documents going missing inside their organisation, while 46% are aware of employees losing documents outside their organisation.

Clearly steps need to be taken if the office is to play a meaningful role in the defence against potential information security threats.

When printing documents that include sensitive information, for example, it’s essential that hard copies are accessed only when the sender can physically pick them up from the paper tray. Without this important measure, it’s possible for information to sit, unclaimed in the public domain.

While this may seem like an innocuous oversight, the biggest implication of poor data handling can be significant. The threat of regulatory fines and subsequent loss of business has the potential to cause ongoing damage to organisations. However, a workforce that is educated and aware of its responsibilities when it comes to data protection in all forms is the best mode of defence against potential issues.

Human shield vs. hardware shield

Maintaining new and existing hardware can also represent security headaches, with older devices often being overlooked.

Take the printer. Still used every day, connected to the corporate network and so often, the recipient of some of an organisation’s most confidential information.

While the corporate network on which most enterprise printers run can address controls and security to an extent, many businesses fail to make this connection leaving such devices vulnerable. The prevailing view is that a printer is just another piece of office equipment, a peripheral device. But today’s office-class devices are much more sophisticated, with embedded operating systems and support for cloud-enabled, integrated document solutions.

Organisations must also remember that most devices have a hard drive in the same way as computers do. Ensuring that this data is encrypted and only accessed by those with the adequate permissions, as well as being discarded of responsibility, will further reduce the risk of unwanted breaches.

When it comes to office security, having robust policies and procedures in place is only half the battle. Businesses should ensure that they’re not falling at the first hurdle and overlooking the people and devices right in front of them.

The impending implementation of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a wake-up call and urgent reminder to businesses to review and re-consider all aspects of their office security.

There are simple steps businesses can take to ensure compliance. More importantly, organisations should be educating employees on their office’s security policies, as well as their individual role in helping keep sensitive data safe.

If you’re interested in finding out more about safeguarding your office environment from information security threats both internal and external, register for our upcoming webinar.


Get in touch to find out how Agilico can help secure your workplace and improve efficiency.