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  • Written by Tess Sanders Lazarus

With many businesses slowly returning to normal post lock down, workplaces are expected to look very different in terms of how they function and operate. Alex Teregonis believes one of the biggest changes will involve staffing and he is predicting that this is going to cause big issues for the management of confidential customer information.

Teregonis is the founder and CEO of Bag-N-Shred, one of Australia’s leading document disposal services.

I think we are going to see many businesses implementing highly flexible working arrangements with staff to maintain social distancing. Effectively businesses will be trying to minimise the need for all staff to be in at work at the same time,” Teregonis said.

This will involve changing up times when staff come into the office. We’re going to see staff working shift work, working from home and working at the office, increased job sharing and an increased spread of responsibilities and duties,” Teregonis said.

This is a lot to manage. As you can imagine, with flexibility brings the requirement for big changes to systems, processes and procedures to ensure critical activities are still undertaken when and as needed. Other issues include building and office access and entry permissions.

Unfortunately this is when you see vital things slip, like building security, access management, compliance around office protocols such as clear desk policies, storage of materials and ultimately the security of confidential customer or patient information.”

According to Teregonis, the post lockdown environment is going to cause many issues for the management of confidential information.

Businesses have a lot to deal with at the moment,” Teregonis said.

Rightly so, a key focus is protecting the safety and wellbeing of their staff. This is going to involve significant coordination and stress for a lot of business owners and managers. We are in difficult times.

My concern is that while many businesses will be focused on social distancing and hygiene, other issues such as the proper management of customer information may suffer.”

Teregonis has outlined some key areas of risk for businesses:

  • Customer or patient information being left on desks or in areas that can be seen or accessed by others

  • Materials not being properly stored away – particularly when working from home

  • Lack of proper monitoring of the handling of sensitive information

  • Materials being taken home by workers and left unattended, or lost in transit

There are some simple things that businesses can do to minimise risk. The most obvious is to implement a plan, protocols and compliance for the management of materials during this period of flexibility,” Teregonis said.

Put in place simple measures to ensure the easy, safe and reliable destruction of confidential materials.

Bag-N-Shred works with many businesses, child care centres, aged care facilities, accountants, lawyers, schools and medical outlets to provide bags for the disposal of materials. Documents are simply placed into easy-seal bags and dropped into an Australia Post outlet and delivered to the destruction centre. Customers can track the bag and get notification when it is destroyed.

Simple things like this can save a business from imploding from a breach.

“Under the Privacy Act, business owners are responsible for protecting their customers’ personal information from theft, misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. If you no longer need your customers’ personal information, you must destroy or de-identify it.

“My advice to all businesses returning staff to work is - make sure you focus on confidential customer information. This is one of the biggest risks to business in the new area of flexibility.”

Bag-N-Shred is Australia’s leading document disposal business, servicing businesses large and small all over the country. Bag-N-Shred is an easy and affordable way to securely destroy documents. Their shredding bags are extra strong and durable and can hold up to 5kg of paper-based documents - this is equivalent to two reams (approximately 1,000 sheets) of A4 paper. Simply sign up and they’ll send you a Bag-N-Shred bag for $19.90. It's that easy! Drop the filled and sealed bag at any Australia Post Office, and it will go to Bag-N-Shred’s secure facility for safe and confidential destruction and then recycled into new paper products.


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