The Benefits of a Clean Desk

We all have our own ways of creating our perfect working environment. Some of us like to have photos of family on our desks, some of us like the minimal look, and then there are those of us who must delve through several layers of old Post It notes and play coffee cup chess before we can find anything on our desk.

We may have our web access firewalls configured, our database security perfect, and our desktop security policies in place, but if an employee leaves a Post It note with their password on, lying around, it may all be for nothing.

Here is a checklist for keeping work spaces tidy – and secure.

Start of the workday

  • Plan your work tasks when you arrive, gathering together only the documents and devices necessary to do the job.
  • After viewing emails and opening needed documents, reduce or close pages on the screen.
  • Try to always be aware of any confidential information being used. 
  • Use a simple filing system – so that documents are filed right away. Research has shown that loose paperwork leads to unauthorised access, theft and fraud.  

Leaving the work space temporarily

  • Do a quick scan of the work area, and remove and secure any visible sensitive information.
  • Always lock your computer when your not at your desk, using the windows key + L button or Control + Shift + Eject on a mac.
  • Carry mobile devices, or secure them inside a drawer.

Other workday chores

  • As far as practicable, when sensitive or confidential information is being worked on, close or minimise the window or lock the computer when unauthorised persons are nearby.
  • Never leave confidential documents unattended on flip charts or whiteboards in meeting rooms. When the meeting is over, do not leave behind any confidential notes or information in plain view.
  • In shared printer areas, immediately remove all sensitive documents from equipment.   

End of the day

  • Clear desk of papers including post-it notes and paper that contain sensitive information.  
  • Log out of desktop computer, and shut it down.
  • Store removable computer devices, DVDs, USB sticks, etc.
  • Lock draws and filing cabinets, and store keys in a secure location.