Confidentiality In The Workplace: Are Your Policies Up To Scratch?

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Over the past decade, we have seen a massive increase in the transfer from files and records from a hard paper copy to digital files. And even now, the majority of admin tasks, as well as the majority of business work and marketing, all takes place online. All of this is really useful. It means efficiency and speed when it comes to record keeping, as well as the speed of updating records and finding the things that you want. It saves physical space, as well as money and paper. However, the biggest challenge with this kind of data is keeping things confidential. There are higher risks with storing this kind of information online, especially for things like trade secrets and personal data.

With things like hackers, there are ways that the information can be taken. Though this can happen, it isn’t too likely. The largest risk can be from employees. Any disgruntled employees that are out to get you could quite easily divulge information if they are able to get their hands on it. So how can you keep the workplace and your records confidential and safe?

One way is to make a clause in employee’s contracts all about confidentiality. By signing that when they start employment with you, they are agreeing to not disclosing any company information out to anyone. It is their contact after all, so it is legally binding. Then if it is found that they have been leaking information, it will be immediate grounds for dismissal. This is, of course, for only regular employees. If your business uses contractors or freelancers, then it can be a little more tricky. A freelance web developer might be used for designing a new business website, for example. They will have access to certain information about the business. So it is in your interest to have them sign a contractor agreement. Then you know that you will be covered if anything does happen.

You should also look at using software to help keep your data and information as secure as possible. Some specific computer architecture, like N-Tier architecture, could be a good idea if you don’t have anything in place at the moment. But what is N-Tier architecture? It means a multi-level software, meaning scalability and ease of security for your computer system. It means you can keep different tiers of information secured. So you can give certain people access to some tiers or platforms, and not give them access to others. So it can be good to limit the information that is available to certain people.

Alongside these points, you do need to have some policies in place for dealing with sensitive material. Think about getting a social media policy in place, for example. Social media can have a massive effect on the reputability of a company, especially if an employee shares something, and then it keeps getting shared by other people. Before you know it, it could be spread worldwide. The same goes for a mobile phone policy, as it can mean instant communication with friends and family, for your employees. Only a third of companies do have these policies in place; so make sure yours is one of them!

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About the author /

Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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