5 top tips for dealing with hard copy documents which hold personal data

Although for many of us, life is now very much digital, we must not forget that hard copy documents containing personal data which are or are intended to form part of a filing system need to be appropriately protected. We have compiled a list of 5 top data protection tips to consider when dealing with paper documents.

  1. Clean desk policy – a clean desk policy is a simple yet effective way of ensuring data security whilst in the workplace. Staff should be required to lock paper documents away securely when they are away from their desk.
  2. Limiting access to printing – when printing or scanning a document in an office, it is important to ensure that documents are not left in printers or scanners. Print software can be installed to hold print jobs in a secure queue until the employee releases the document from the queue using their security badge or employee number. You could also consider preventing staff from printing documents while working from home to avoid issues with disposal of printed documents. Staff working from home should be reminded that they should not send work documents to their personal email address in order to print them off from a personal printer.
  3. A sign in and out process for paper records – organisations should consider introducing a sign out process for paper documents, which are highly sensitive in nature. This ensures that the documents can be accounted for at all times.
  4. Appropriate shredders – crosscut shredders which cut in two directions creating tiny fragments of paper which cannot be fitted back together, should be used instead of strip cut shredders, which allow for documents to be reconstructed after destruction potentially leading to a data breach. If using an external shredding company, remember to carry out thorough due diligence, in order to ensure they meet the standards you require.
  5. Secure storage – paper documents should be stored in a way which ensures that they can only be accessed by appropriate individuals. If your organisation stores paper documents, it should consider the implementation of locked store cupboards with a select number of individuals having the keys to access the store cupboard. Organisations should also consider providing their employees with filing cabinets near their desks, to ensure that any clean desk policy can be adhered to.

If you would like advice or training for your organisation on how to deal with personal data contained in paper documents, please contact a member of our team here.


Don't just take our word for it