Secure your information in these 3 places.

Document security becomes startlingly relevant right after you realize you don’t have it, and that your information has been stolen. This week we’ve looked at 5 things you need to shred at tax time, and how to secure your working experience by taking it with you on the road. Today we’re looking at different ways to secure the tools you use everyday. There are three key areas you need to focus on to keep yourself document-safe: your computer, your mobile phone, and ordinary pen and paper.

Your computer

Data security policies are essential to protect both you and your customers, but they can be less effective when they’re not properly thought out. Common-sense activities like locking your PC when you walk away tend to be forgotten simply because they are effective; set a short time-out on your screensaver to help mitigate “quick trip to the printer” vulnerabilities.

Securing your PC is crucial, but securing your data is even more important. Encrypt your laptop or desktop hard drive with software like McAfee Total Protection 2012 or Bit Defender Total Security 2012 to make your data safer even if the drive is stolen. Using an external USB hard drive or USB key with encryption also adds a layer of protection in the event of theft or loss.

Remember to “zero-out” format any hard drives or USB keys that you’re not going to use in the future to avoid the information that was once on them being recovered. The format utility on Macs and PCs includes options for secure formatting–it takes longer, but it’s worth it to protect your information.

Your mobile device

Punching a lock code into your phone to use it can be frustrating, but it’s a surefire way to keep your device from casual attacks if it’s lost or stolen. If you’re working with an exchange server, it will generally include policies to remotely wipe the device in the event of theft or loss. You may also want to add a third party app or use built-in software to track or wipe the device yourself; it’s always a good idea to get the police involved with any recovery efforts.

Your desk

We’ve already talked about 5 items to shred at tax time, but how you shred them matters too. Cross-cut shredders do an even better job of obscuring sensitive personal and professional information, making them an ideal choice for document security. If you frequently back data up to optical discs like CDs or DVDs, choose a shredder that can handle those media formats, and schedule a time to eliminate old backups when they’re no longer in use.

Pro-actively protecting yourself is key when fighting data intrusions and identity theft. By following these simple steps and evaluating other areas that could potential be dangerous, you’re taking the right steps to keeping your information safe this tax season, and beyond!

Are you practicing good document security? Comment on any of this weeks' blog posts, or join the discussion on our Facebook page for your chance to win a handy Fellowes Shredder to keep your documents more secure!

By Adam

February 24, 2012