The protection of confidential information in the workplace is becoming increasingly important for the success of businesses. Protecting confidential information is a way of building trust with employees and clients, thereby facilitating efficient company operations and improving customer relationships. Having a clear confidentiality policy in place can help ensure that any sensitive information will be properly protected.
The following are steps that businesses and employees can take to protect confidential information in the workplace:
- Keeping Files Secure. I9 forms and forms containing any personal information (e.g., medical information, criminal background records) should be kept in separate files and should be stored securely. Confidential documents should ideally be stored in locked filed cabinets or in rooms only accessible to authorized personnel. Confidential documents being stored electronically should be protected by passwords, encryption and firewalls.
- Labeling Confidential Information. Any sensitive information should be marked as such to reduce the risk of it getting into the wrong hands.
- Discrete Communication. Common sense should be exercised when communicating confidential information. For example, it is not advisable to discuss confidential information in public places or common areas. Furthermore, sensitive information is best communicated in person rather than electronically. If employees are working with confidential information on the computer and have to leave their workstations, they should not leave the document containing confidential information visible to others. At the end of the day, it is good practice to clear your desk of any confidential information and keep it securely stored in a locked file cabinet.
- Proper Disposal of Confidential Information. Documents containing confidential information should be shredded before being disposed of. Before disposing of an old computer, have the hard drive destroyed or use a software program to erase any data stored on the machine.
FORLETTA Investigative/Security Consultant’s workplace investigations can be useful if you feel that your company’s confidentiality policy has been breached. Contact us today to learn more. Our Pittsburgh and Cleveland-based investigators are at your service.
Jules Halpern Associates, LLC. (2010). Why Is Confidentiality Important?