How secure are your documents?

Simple solutions ensure that confidential and sensitive documents in your office stay private

Here at Crown Records Management, a lot of work goes into making sure your documents are as secure as possible while also ensuring that your documents remain accessible to those who are allowed to see them. How secure are your documents?However, have you given enough consideration to how you treat confidential or sensitive documents in your workplace before they reach us? We spoke to Crown Records Management staff, Simon Allen, Business Development Manager for Information Services, about a best-practice approach to the management of your paperwork.

Ensure secure printing

In many offices, the printer can be found underneath a mountain of unclaimed documents. Often, by the time you’ve ambled over to it, the printer has pushed out more jobs, so you’re left leafing through to find where your own begins and ends. All of this can be resolved by introducing a PIN for each member of staff that has to be entered to retrieve printing. In fact, this is the least your company could be doing. Good practice when you’re dealing with confidential or sensitive documents is to have a dual or multi-factor identification process to collect printing – i.e. a requirement to use an ID card alongside the PIN.

Or, even better, consider whether the document really needs to be printed. Educate your staff and colleagues about better ways of working; you’ve probably got technology solutions that include effective reviewing and collaboration tools. These generally require organization credentials to log-in for access.  We’re all striving for the paperless office, so let’s leverage the systems that we already have to stop adding to the mountain of paper.

Clear the desks

In a secure office, paperwork shouldn’t lie around unattended on desks, especially overnight. To improve security, change behaviors and stop the paper hoarders once and for all. Offices that have effectively introduced less paper or paper-light ways of working have often started by having a clear-desk policy coinciding with drastically reducing the amount of secure storage available for paperwork. There will be some pain to begin with as people adapt to new ways of working, but as humans have a habit of creating and keeping enough stuff to fill the space that they have, why not reduce the available hoarding space?

Shred it, don’t bin it

Recycling paper is a basic environmental responsibility for any office, but how is your recycling stored? If it’s an open bin, it’s not secure.  Any confidential or sensitive documents should be disposed of in a lockable console. To really simplify things, adopt a shred-all policy. Truly secure companies have done away with waste paper bins completely and all paper gets placed into a secure destruction console when it’s no longer needed. That way you can be sure that no confidential or sensitive documents can end up where you wouldn’t want them.

Manage filing systems

If you’re legally required to keep documents for a number of years, make sure you’ve got a plan for getting rid of them when their time is up. These papers should be securely destroyed and have a complete audit trail that ends with a certificate of destruction. Simply putting these documents into a recycling stream or burning them does not provide you with a full chain of custody.

To save space, keep the scanned copies within a secure electronic system that ensures only the appropriate people can see them. Contact our teams for more information on how we can help to digitize your records system.


Paper’s portability is one of its security pit falls; it can be easily stolen. However, in this age of smartphones, it’s just as quick and easy to take a snap of a screen as it is to grab a piece of paper. Therefore, you need to think about who has access to your screen while you’re in the loo or grabbing a cup of coffee. Try to make locking your PC part of your everyday practice and your company culture. It’s a small, easy change that will help to keep private documents private.

If you need help to better understand how to keep your documents secure and ensure compliance with local or international data regulations, organize an information audit with the Crown Records Management team.