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Lock It Up and Stay Alert! Simple Approaches to a Secure Workplace

Make intruders look for an easier target by using basic security methods.

If you want to protect your customers from identity theft, chain down your servers and lock up those notebooks, according to a recent Microsoft security intelligence report. The report states that a whopping 57% of all publicly disclosed security breaches are caused by lost or stolen systems. Only 13% were caused by active hacking.

Maintaining physical security in your workplace is relatively simple—yet the Identity Theft Resources Center reports that security breaches increased 47% in the last year. Why is physical security often overlooked? In today’s high-tech environment, where thieves use the Web, advanced computer viruses, and complex social engineering ploys to access personally identifiable information, it’s easy to forget basics like keeping our eyes open, securing doors, and locking up sensitive information.

A business in Indianapolis learned this lesson the hard way. Criminals broke in and made off with cash, merchandise, and an unlocked filing cabinet full of clients’ Social Security numbers and birth dates. The deadbolt on the door next to the filing cabinet was left unsecure, and that door led to a side lot, concealed from public view both by its distance from the street and the nearby trash dumpsters, making undetected escape easy.

Unfortunately, smash-and-grab thefts like this are all too common. One business owner reported 7,000 client credit card numbers stolen. An accountant’s stolen laptop held the tax documents of 800 clients. The computers at a law firm contained clients’ names, credit card numbers, and legal correspondence. In all, there were thousands of victims.

But some businesses in the complex experienced no theft at all. Why were they spared? They used simple physical security measures like locking doors, securing information of all kinds, and remaining alert to intruders. You can help maintain physical security by following these time-tested tips:

  • Keep entrances and exits secure. Don’t let unauthorized people follow you through a door, “tailgating” their way to sensitive information. Follow our organization’s policies regarding access to facilities.
  • Keep sensitive information locked up. Whether they’re stored on paper, electronic media like thumb drives or CDs, laptops, or your network-connected PC, keep sensitive files locked up in a secure space.
  • Watch out for suspicious and unknown people in the work area. Stay vigilant—if you see people loitering, report them to our security personnel.

Police report that burglars look for easy targets, but avoid organizations that lock their doors, secure their information, and watch for suspicious people or activity.

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