Closing the Office for The Holidays? Read This First
The holiday season is—as the song goes—the most wonderful time of the year.
With the abundance of decadent holiday treats, decorations and ample time with friends and family, we couldn’t agree more!
During this time of year, a lot of offices close their doors during the holidays.
Whether your office is closed for the stat holidays or it’s closed for a week, you’ll want to read this first.
Scammers and identity thieves love the holidays too. With so many offices shutting down to spend time with family or employees working remotely, there are more opportunities to steal sensitive data from companies.
Here are some tips to protect your company before the office closes.
Some Pre-Holiday Preparations
While some of these tips will be considered common sense, they’re still worth noting.
Before your office shuts down for the holidays, test all of your security equipment. Test your fire alarms and security cameras beforehand to know that they’re working properly.
Do a check to see what can be seen from the road or sidewalks outside your business. Can someone see in? Can they see all of your expensive equipment? If so, make sure you install or close the blinds before the office closes down.
Also, ensuring that the outside of your business is well-lit will make it difficult for any intruders to go unseen or may deter them from entering your business at all. If you are trying to conserve energy, using timers that turn lights on and off at various intervals will give the illusion that there may be employees inside.
Implement A Clean Desk Policy
In the past, we’ve talked about the benefits of a clean desk policy. Not only does a clean desk improve productivity and decreases stress, it also protects confidential documents. Leaving sensitive documents out in the open could leave your company vulnerable if there was a break-in over the holidays. Always lock up any work cell phones, password protect computers and lock offices. Always securely destroy confidential data, including paper and hard drives.
Don’t Overshare on Social Media
You may believe that posting things on social media is harmless, but you really have to be careful about what you’re posting.
Say, for example, it’s the last day at work before the holidays. There’s a company potluck going on, so you post that buffet-like photo, captioned “celebrating the last day of work with an ample amount of food!”
Although it sounds pretty harmless, it could pose dire ramifications, as a thief will know that your office will be closed down after this point. It’s often better to avoid posting about holiday closures or any travel plans on social media.
The holiday season is when the airport is at its busiest. Some employees may be taking off earlier to spend more time with family and will be working remotely.
Wherever you decide to work remotely, whether it be an airport, the office or at home, employees should always know how to work safely to protect confidential data. Always password protect mobile phones and laptops and never leave them unattended. Be wary of public Wi-Fi and never send confidential information (such as banking information, sensitive client information, etc.) while using public Wi-Fi. If you need to transfer information, you can do so by using a virtual private network (VPN) or a password-protected Wi-Fi network.
Pay Attention to What You Throw Out
During this time of year, it’s common for businesses to receive more deliveries—whether it’s for replenishing stock to sell to customers during the busy holiday season or if it’s gifts for your employees or customers.
After you empty the shipping boxes, don’t throw the empty boxes in the trash. Many boxes are marked with the original contents, letting prying eyes see what could be stored inside your facility.
Removing shipping and contents labels and the shredding them are the best course of action to protect yourself and your business.
Additionally, mail delivery is popular during this time of year. Throwing out the envelopes that contain personally identifiable information, such as a name, employee account information, etc, could put you or an employee at risk for identity theft.
When you’re trying to wrap up everything before the holidays, it’s easy to forget how important it is to shred all confidential documents, but it could be the protecting factor against a data breach.
Cheers to a happy holiday season!