Homes are often full of valuable items. However, one area that most homeowners and even an entrepreneur often tend to overlook is the safe storage of essential documents. Research has found that one in four people have either forgotten or lost their confidential documents and could not locate them when needed. Beyond knowing where your financial statements are, some papers such as tax returns and social security information could be as tempting to an intruder as a valuable electronic or TV set. Most people have two goals when storing their documents; keeping their papers safe from fire, theft, or any other emergency and keeping their confidential data close at hand. Here are a few ways to safeguard your confidential information.
Use Plastic Page Slips
It is no secret that almost everyone would want to protect their documents from accidental spills, sunlight, and wear and tear when storing them in a home safe. Using plastic page pills is one way to achieve that. You can put documents in a plastic sleeve and then use a box or binder to file them. Put each paper in a separate plastic page to prevent wear and tear.
Have a Home Safe
Homeowners may need to get a safe deposit box for storing documents or copies of documents that they keep at home. The safe should have a secure locking mechanism and be fireproof. Having a safe home can help keep records away from people you don’t want to access your personal information. A safe deposit box can also protect documents from emergencies such as floods and fires.
Use a Shredder
You may need to shred your expired credit cards, receipts, bank statements, credit card offers, or any other utility payment you no longer need at least once a month. Never be tempted to throw away a receipt for a transaction that you used your credit card just anywhere. Your name or card number could be on that receipt. Criminals often take advantage of receipts that are thrown away carelessly to steal confidential data.
Scan and Digitalize Your Documents
Businesses may need to go digital and replace their original paper documents with scanned documents where possible. However, scanning can be an ideal way to protect paper documents even when original copies must be retained. Backing up your original documents with a soft copy ensures nothing is lost in case the original paper gets torn or stolen. You might, however, need to secure your scanned copies with Azure Security software to block access from unauthorized people. While natural disasters such as floods and fire can destroy paper documents, scanned copies are ever safe. Electronic data transfer has almost become a necessity in the digital era. That said, scanning is more efficient than faxing when it comes to transferring paper documents electronically.
Implement Security Protocols
Blocking access to confidential paper documents is one way to ensure your personal information does not get to the wrong hands. As such, a business should restrict access to their specific paper files to certain workers to minimize the risks of data loss. One way to achieve this is to ensure that your filing cabinets are well-built and locked at night. Those using paper files containing confidential information should return them to their lockers immediately after use and avoid carrying them outside the office or at home. Security cameras are another alternative way to monitor the area where your most sensitive paper documents are stored.
Create a Records Retention Plan
The first line of defense when it comes to protecting your confidential information is to ensure paper documents are not being tossed aside. Invoices, customer personal information, tax information, business contracts, and employee data should be regarded as confidential documents. You can then designate a pre-planned location where all confidential paper documents can be organized and stored. There should also be the timeframe that such documents can be kept, after which; they should be shredded and thrown away for practical and legal reasons.
Protecting paper documents can involve implementing security protocols, having a safe deposit box at home, using a shredder for unwanted documents, binding paper documents with plastic page slips. However, backing up original copies with scanned copies can help protect paper documents from any natural disaster. Some paper documents remain vulnerable to data breaches, even in the digital era. As such, proper measures must be put in place to store and protect them from potential intruders. Minimizing the use of paper documents in an office can help reduce clutter and increase savings, but it is vital to learn how to keep paper documents safe.