What is your first thought when you think of a clean desk? Is it keeping your documents from cluttering up space? Making sure your old cups are washed? Or is it something a little more digital? Cleaning your office workspace is more than keeping your space physically tidy.

In our age of technology, it is easier for bad actors to walk away with confidential information than ever before, potentially causing identity theft, fraud, and loss of integrity for any company that becomes a victim.

Do you have a Clean Desk Policy in your organization? If not or if you are not enforcing one, your staff could be leaving client and personal information out in the open. Helping to develop policies for your workplace is a duty our consultants at neoRhino IT Solutions are more than equipped to perform but what should your policy include? And how should it be enforced?

It’s a new year and “Cleanliness is Preparedness” for The War for Cybersecurity, so here are 10 Rules You Should Include (And Enforce) in your Clean Desk Policy.

  1. Keep your workspace clear every day. You may not notice a missing item if your workspace is cluttered so keeping it clean reduces the possibility of this. Also, NEVER have direct links to sensitive documents on your Windows or Mac desktop. In the case you accidentally leave your computer unlocked
  2. Keep all your sensitive physical documents and media in drawers or filing cabinets. If there are any USB Drives or other forms of media that contain any type of personal information publicly visible in your workspace, file it away in a cabinet or locking drawer.
  3. Always lock your device before walking away. We can easily be distracted or pulled away from our desks at the office, but it only takes a second for an intruder to get unauthorized access on an unattended, unlocked device. Use these Hotkeys to easily lock your computer:
    • Windows: Windows Key + L or Ctrl + Alt + Delete, then choose Lock
    • MacOS: Ctrl + Command + Q
    • Be sure to lock your portable devices with a PIN or biometric lock as well.
  4. Secure equipment with confidential information physically when unattended. This mainly goes for portable devices such as laptops or tablets but ensure that all portable devices have a protocol for keeping them secure in the office.
  5. Make sure meeting spaces are cleared of confidential info after meetings, including whiteboards. At neoRhino, we have whiteboards in multiple areas and utilize window space to take notes during collaboration, however once the meeting is complete and notes are taken, we erase the space to ensure if any client information is present, is not open for prying eyes. Clear your meeting board spaces and file your digital and physical meeting notes accordingly.
  6. Ensure no sticky notes with sensitive information are exposed. Sticky Notes are an office staple (no pun intended). However, leaving notes on your desk or monitor with login information is a big no-no. Leaving anything type of note in plain view with confidential information can be an easy way to get breached. This includes your digital desktop as well, especially if you do not lock your screen (see rules #1 & #3).
  7. Shred and/or your unneeded confidential documents. Never throw them in the trash. Criminals will go through your trash looking for information for them to exploit and put companies at risk. Make sure all confidential documents are shredded properly or destroyed and not thrown in the trash. You may want to consider a document destruction policy to further enforce this practice.
  8. Keeping up presentation for visitors. In the instance that your employees do not know when your office is having a visitor, having a clean and document-free environment not only protects your data from malicious onlookers, but also keeps your workspace in a good upkeep. A clean workspace is also known to help reduce stress and increase productivity.
  9. Encourage using electronic documents before printing. Adopting a “digital-first” lifestyle is great for the environment and for keeping your data safe. It also further promotes a clean workspace philosophy and you can control your network printing options to prevent unnecessary exposure.
  10. Have a data backup solution ready with scheduled maintenance. Utilizing the “3-2-1” method of data backups for your business is not only an excellent protection method, but crucial in the case that your business is compromised.

Be sure to have your Clean Desk Policy is documented in writing and that you have the support of your upper management to ensure success. Enforcing policies like this in your workplace is a solid step forward in The War for Cybersecurity and neoRhino can help you know the Rules for Engagement.

Contact us or fill out the form above today for a FREE IT Assessment to learn how neoRhino’s team of certified IT consultants and seasoned IT helpdesk technicians can help protect your business and train your employees on staying cyber-aware.