Receipts, shipping labels and boarding passes are other exam-ples
of unexpected – and often overlooked – sources of sensitive
information that can leave employees or an organization vulnera-ble
to fraud if misplaced. For example, fraudsters are able to read
the barcodes on boarding passes and gain access to passengers’
contact information, future travel plans and frequent flyer ac-counts,
according to cybersecurity experts.
Human resources professionals must be leaders in establishing
a culture of security and shared responsibility in order to ensure
that their organization and employees’ confidential information is
A simple and cost-effective way to ensure you cover all your bas-es
in fraud prevention is to implement a clean desk policy in your
organization. A clean desk policy ensures that everyone plays a
role in information security by keeping their desks clear of sensi-tive
documents. This policy not only reduces your organization’s
risk of fraud, but also encourages employees to declutter often and
fosters an appreciation for the importance of information security.
Here are some frequently asked questions to help you imple-ment
and enforce a clean desk policy in your workplace.
WHAT DOES A CLEAN DESK POLICY LOOK LIKE
On a daily basis, employees should follow the “Three Ps of Office
1. Plan: Start each day with a few minutes of planning to
organize the documents you need and file the documents you
2. Protect: When you leave your desk, take a quick look
to see if any of the papers on your desk contain sensitive
information. If so, place them inside a folder out of sight.
3. Pick up: When you leave your desk in the evening, file all
your documents or lock them up. As an added benefit, you’ll
enjoy a tidy office first thing in the morning.
HOW DO I IMPLEMENT A CLEAN DESK POLICY IN
1. Start at the top: Make sure to get agreements from your
senior managers to both follow and advocate for the policy.
2. Put it in writing: Communicate clear instructions to
employees on how to follow the policy and why it’s
3. Provide lockable storage: You simply can’t have a clean
desk policy if your employees have nowhere to securely store
documents. Consider purchasing small, lockable storage
boxes that fit under desks.
HOW DO I ENFORCE A CLEAN DESK POLICY?
1. Display reminders: Post signage in key areas of the office
reminding employees to follow the policy.
2. Appoint monitors: Request that a manager from each
department check everyone’s desk at the end of the day. Once
employees get into the clean desk routine, you may be able to
transition to random desk checks.
policies & procedures
A clean desk policy ensures that everyone plays a role in information security by keeping their desks clear of sensitive documents
22 ❚ MAY 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL