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by Rod Smith, Director of Internal Controls

Have you ever noticed how organized and clutter-free banker offices are?  A clerk usually has a computer monitor on their desk, a telephone and possibly a calendar.  Sometimes, you will see an occasional decoration or two and possibly a business card holder.  I worked in the finance and banking industry many years ago, and discovered that there is an element of control as to why those desks are often kept clear and clutter free – can you guess why?

The number one purpose for keeping those desks free and clear is to prevent personal and customer financial and sensitive data from being exposed.  Also, it’s to keep employees from being distracted and letting their guard down so that sensitive data is not compromised.

More employees are working remotely these days, and we’re discovering the pros and cons of this new way of doing business.  That said, whether or not we’re in the office at the University or working in a lab or remote, we have to ensure we’re all taking the necessary precautions to protect University property and sensitive data. So, my question, my fellow colleagues, is this: Are your desks free of sensitive data and free of clutter?

I wanted to remind folks of the following and ask a couple of questions, too:

  • When working remote, ensure you’re connected through VPN.
  • Review the Records Retention and Disposal Policy for the University.
  • If you print documents at home, ensure the safe keeping of them. We have several shred bins throughout campus, but since folks are working remote, those bins are seldom used.  How are you shredding and properly disposing of sensitive documents and data that need to be destroyed?
  • Do have sensitive data laying around and/or pass codes posted around your desk?  (You’d be surprised what folks can capture on their screens when Zooming!)
  • Ensure you’re following University Policies and Procedures when storing and backing up data.
  • Lastly, be aware of your surroundings and who has access to your work area.
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