Clean desk-policy: een schoon bureau

September 1, 2023

Back2Work: attention to information security when returning to the workplace

Does this sound familiar? You’ve just sent an email to a colleague or business associate, and you didn’t get an out-of-office…? That’s because we’re starting to move past vacation season. So: 5 spots in the work where you need to be aware of information security risks.

Just like everywhere else, really.

We understand that coming back from a well-deserved retreat takes some adjusting, from relaxing at the beach to concentrating and hard work… That’s why we’ve put together this refresher to get you back on track!

1. At your flex workspace

Now that the out-of-office season is largely behind us, the team is slowly becoming whole again. However, that doesn’t mean we spend all our working hours in the actual office. Hybrid working has become so self-evident that your favorite locations outside the office can seem very familiar. Be careful with that, because on the train, at a coffee shop or at any of your flex workspaces, someone could easily be watching your monitor, overhearing some of your conversations or glancing at that stack of papers.

Always treat public workplaces as public spaces, as they are never suited for discussing anything confidential. Make sure that no one has access to your data, never use a publicly shared computer for your work, but always log in on your own equipment and with your own network connection.

Gedeelde werkruimtes: flexwerkplek

2. Your computer

Just like a physical desk, a cluttered desktop on your monitor can cause anxiety. Plus, the many folders and files can slow down the computer and make it harder to find what you need. Take a few minutes to organize your digital desktop and remove unnecessary files. And check for outdated and unused programs and those necessary software updates as well!

A strong password is a must of course, as well as multifactor authentication wherever possible. Now that you are full of energy again, it might also be a good time to come up with a new password for all your accounts. Or leave it to a password manager.

Passwords are only useful if you actually lock your screen when you leave your station. If you get up at any time, whether for a cup of coffee or a whole afternoon of meetings, always lock your screen. Someone who wants harm will otherwise have instant access to your files and can install malicious software or send something in your name within seconds.

Use Windows-sign + L on a PC, or control + command + Q on a Mac.

3. Shared spaces in the office

A large proportion of security incidents take place in the workplace. Think of your own workplace, but also of all the shared spaces like the conference room, cafeteria or printer location. Printouts, folders or other papers are easily taken by someone. Therefore, be equally careful with the information on your desk or in the conference room. Don’t leave printouts at the printer, and make sure the whiteboard is empty again after your meeting.

Being mindful of the information found on the shop floor also means being alert when there are visitors. You can find out what could happen in the latest episode of our Awareways Mystery Guest. So, if you encounter people you don’t know in your workplace, always address them and ask if they need assistance. And be sure to speak up to your colleagues if their visitors are not received at the reception desk or escorted when they leave. 

Protecting sensitive data also means being aware of what information you can share where and with whom – even during that conversation at the office watercooler or coffee machine.

Gedeelde ruimtes op kantoor: op de foto een whiteboard
Clean desk-policy: een schoon bureau

4. Your desk

‘Desk empty, file cabinet locked’ – that’s the short version. No doubt you’ve left your desk tidy before your vacation. Try to keep that going! After all, we want to keep all internal and confidential information well protected – and that includes personal data.

A “clean desk” policy for your desk doesn’t just mean making sure nothing is left on or around your workstation. It also asks you to make sure that you store information (printouts, folders and files) in a cabinet or other lockable place immediately after use

5. On the phone

Strictly speaking, the phone is not really a location, but an important one nonetheless: always be aware of your surroundings when you’re on the phone, and adjust your conversations accordingly. When using mobile Internet, always use your phone’s Internet connection (3G or 4G), or rely on a VPN connection to shield your digital traffic. 

If you share information via email, take proper precautions there as well. Avoid unsecured sharing sites like Dropbox, don’t use translation websites for internal or confidential documents, and don’t email documents to your private email. Whenever you’re sending files, pay attention to your organization’s rules and regulations for sharing data.

Privacy aan de telefoon

Train with Wave

Would you like to learn more about handling information securely In Wave, our learning experience platform where employees learn to properly protect sensitive data, the content is always current, relevant and up to date. The period after the summer vacations is a good time to draw extra attention to our various training courses in Wave.

Not familiar with our learning experience platform? Find out more by requesting a demo!


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