A clean desk policy can be an important tool to ensure that all sensitive/confidential materials are removed from an end user workspace and locked away when the items are not in use or an employee leaves his/her workstation. It is one of the top strategies to utilize when trying to reduce the risk of security breaches in the workplace. Such a policy can also increase employee’s awareness about protecting sensitive information.
The purpose for this policy is to establish the minimum requirements for maintaining a “clean desk” – where sensitive/critical information about our employees, our intellectual property, our students and our vendors is secure in locked areas and out of site. These industry best practices are part of standard basic privacy controls.
- Employees are required to ensure that all sensitive/confidential information in hardcopy or electronic form is secure in their work area at the end of the day and when they are expected to be gone for an extended period.
- Computer workstations should be locked when workspace is unoccupied.
- Any Restricted or Sensitive information should be removed from the desk and locked in a drawer when the desk is unoccupied and at the end of the work day.
- File cabinets containing Restricted or Sensitive information should be kept closed and locked when not in use or when not attended.
- Keys used for access to Restricted or Sensitive information should not be left at an unattended desk.
- Laptops when not in use should be locked away in a drawer.
- Passwords may not be left on sticky notes posted on or under a computer, nor may they be left written down in an accessible location.
- Printouts containing Restricted or Sensitive information should be immediately removed from the printer.
- Upon disposal Restricted and/or Sensitive documents should be shredded in the official shredder bins or placed in the lock confidential disposal bins.
- Whiteboards containing Restricted and/or Sensitive information should be erased.
- Lock away portable computing devices such as laptops and tablets.
- Treat mass storage devices such as CDROM, DVD or USB drives as sensitive and secure them in a locked drawer
- All printers and fax machines should be cleared of papers as soon as they are printed; this helps ensure that sensitive documents are not left in printer trays for the wrong person to pick up.
- Black copies should be run through laser printers and/or copiers when highly sensitive materials are printed or copied to clear image drums.
The OIS team will verify compliance to this policy through various methods, including but not limited to, periodic walk-throughs, business tool reports, internal and external audits, and feedback to the policy owner.
Any exception to the policy should be approved by the OIS in advance.