What is a company's most valuable property? It isn't
buildings or equipment, but information - from computer files and
training materials to budgets and product research.
When vital "insider" information leaves the organization
improperly, everyone loses. Profits can drop, reputations can be
damaged, employees can lose jobs, and morale can plummet.
"Inside" or Confidential Information Includes:
- Organizational information - telephone directories, organizational
charts, training materials, personnel files and policies, salary scales,
performance evaluations, telephone and computer codes.
- Financial - budget reports, sales and order volumes
prior to public release, production and overhead costs, profit
margins, payroll procedures.
- Marketing - short and long-term strategies, customer
lists, market research results.
- Research and Development - technical and performance
specifications, reports on research in progress, project code
names, blueprints, test and system software.
- Manufacturing and Production - vendor names, production levels,
inventories, future plans and sites, product failure reports.
Put a lock on your company's information!
- Think before talking about the details of your job in public
places such as restaurants, airplanes, classrooms, gyms, and parties.
- Know who's on the other end of the line -telephone, modem,
or fax- before giving out any sensitive information. It could
be a competitor or trade journalist looking for helpful employees
who are too eager to give out information about their employer.
- Keep your work area clear. When you will be gone for a few hours,
or at the end of the day, put sensitive papers in a drawer or
- Think about what's on a piece of paper before you toss
it into the trash. If it's sensitive information, tear it
up or use a shredder.
- Challenge strangers who enter your work area unescorted. Call
a supervisor or security for help.
- Protect identification badges, office keys, and codes as you
would your own cards and keys.
What's in a password?
Most computer systems have complex built-in security devices, but
the right password can still unlock the system! Make it hard for
"information thieves" to figure out your password.
- Use at least eight characters. Avoid personal information like
date of birth, address, or social security number.
- Add a punctuation mark or number if your system permits.
- Use a phrase instead of a one-word password if possible.
- You might choose a word in English, then use a dictionary to
translate it into a foreign language.
- Change your password monthly.
- Memorize your password. Don't write it on a piece of paper inside
your desk drawer, appointment book or on a rolodex.
Cracking the voice mail or PBX system.
Remote access and voice mail features of PBX (private branch exchange)
systems make them vulnerable to con artists who specialize in toll
card fraud. To stop these thieves from running up phone bills on
your company's account:
- Change your access code frequently, and use longer codes.
- Treat you phone password like your computer password - with
- When you're away from the office, don't let anyone see or overhear
your phone card codes.
When you travel on business...
- Resist discussing your job with the friendly person next to
- Avoid the temptation to work on sensitive projects in public
places like restaurants and planes.
- When you leave your car or hotel room, put company information
in a secure place or take it with you.
- Be sensitive to conducting confidential business on the phone,
including cellular phones.
A Final Note
When you were hired, you may have signed an agreement regarding
the protection of proprietary information. This is a legally and
ethically binding contract between you and the company. Take it
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Crime Prevention Tips Provided by:
National Crime Prevention Council
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