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Sensitive Company Documentation At Risk

11 December 2003
Media release


Sensitive Company Documentation At Risk

As many companies close their doors for Christmas, the New Zealand Security Association says it is a good time to take stock of company security measures, to protect both their reputation and profitability.

Association chairman Scott Carter says, “Company records containing information such as budgets, monthly profit and loss accounts, discount schedules, personnel records, client and supplier lists are deadly in competitors’ hands.”

While not as negotiable as cash, this information has been deemed by the Department for Courts to have such importance as coming under the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act (1974).

“The Dept for Courts has ruled that all personnel involved in the transportation, destruction and storage being licensed under the Act, and that companies that use external document destruction companies or records management companies should ask to see the guard’s licence before valuable company information is handed over to be taken off site,” Mr Carter says.

The New Zealand Security Association has a Code of Practice for Secure Destruction that member companies must follow.

Companies can perform a simple audit, Mr Carter says, to check their document security arrangements are up to scratch.

- Check staff rubbish bins…are you happy that the information on the pages in these rubbish bins, should go into a skip, and from there to a recycling depot or landfill?
- Do the cleaners dispose of your “waste paper” or is there a process for its secure removal and destruction? Check the process.
- If you have an external provider for storage or shredding of documents, ask the staff for their Security Guards Licence.

Mr Carter relates a true story which illustrates how easily security arrangements can be undermined.

“The cleaners would take this company’s ‘scrap paper’ and give it to their local kindergarten for drawing on the reverse side. Proud parents then had their child’s drawing on the reverse of the company’s latest restructuring plans. It was not malicious, but it could have had a devastating effect.”


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