Security at Christmas isn’t just a case of locking up your home and keeping expensive presents out of sight when you go to visit relatives.

If you run a business then reviewing how your premises, equipment and confidential information are protected is vital at this time of year too.

In a digital age the festive season now delivers the dual challenge of offices left unoccupied for several days at a time and people taking devices and sensitive information off site to work on at home or elsewhere.

The ease with which a laptop or smartphone can be stolen or confidential information viewed is an issue in a busy office, let alone an empty one. This risk is magnified when devices and papers are taken away from the office and potentially left lying around while their owners enjoy the festivities.

Here are our 5 steps for playing it safe with work equipment and confidential materials over Christmas:

1. Shred it

There are two essential shredding tasks in the run up to Christmas – one in the office and another for anyone working from home.

Use the week before the break to shred any documents you no longer need to keep in the business. If anyone is planning to work off site – and needs to print – then equip them with a home shredder if they don’t have one. Home office and police advice is to use cross cut shredders that are capable of shredding A4 sheets into as many as 410 pieces.

2. Securely store it

Place all your legal, financial, HR and other sensitive documents in a locked filing cabinet. On the last day before you lock up, check nothing has been left on printers or photocopiers. Use a fireproof safe for any valuables or cash that cannot be stored safely off site.

Encrypted storage devices are an answer for anyone that needs to take confidential material home with them. If someone needs to take paperwork away then ensure that they carry this in a lockable case or bag.

3. Lock and filter it

Locking now extends beyond doors and windows to digital devices. Laptop locks are similar to bike locks and will secure devices to fixtures in a workplace or home office.

Ensure everyone is keeping prying eyes away from confidential information by using a good password for all their devices and applying a privacy filter to all screens.

4. Back it up

Pre-Christmas is a good time to check that sensitive and important information is being fully backed up to an external hard drive offsite. Secure cloud storage will ensure that any work done by people at home or elsewhere will be saved remotely in the event of a device or paperwork being misplaced.

5. Keep it zipped

Be careful what you tell the world on social media or your website. While you will probably want to let customers know your working hours over Christmas, be aware that too much information about your premises being closed or unattended could be valuable to the wrong people.

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