Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Out In Plain Sight


While the exposure of sensitive information through digital means is relatively well known and guarded against, your organization could be facing more obscure threats like “visual hacking” without even knowing it. Though not nearly as high tech as other methods, this strategy can still pose major security issues for companies of any size – big or small.

Ever been on an airplane or in a coffee shop and caught someone looking at your laptop screen? That’s visual hacking. It could be your laptop, smartphone, or even paper documents. People with bad intentions don’t necessarily need access to your computer systems to compromise your privacy, sometimes just a quick glance will suffice. To make it even worse, it’s fast. As shown in a recent undercover investigation by 3M, on average it took less than 30 minutes for the person to obtain high level, sensitive corporate information. The fake attacker was stopped in 30% of the instances, but by that time had typically recovered at least three pieces of confidential customer information.

This kind of old style corporate espionage is nothing new in the business world, but with the proliferation of smart devices and increasingly complex security concerns it can be easy to accidentally overlook the precautions. While intruders with that specific purpose entering your facility are rare, opportunistic thieves might take advantage of any lapses in protocols to garner potentially valuable information when it’s exposed.

The good news is that this kind of situation is easily fixable. While organizations spend millions on IT security, high quality staff training and records management practices can keep critical data secure from these threats. Our colleagues at ARMA (Association of Records Managers and Administrators) have put together documentation with recommendations for best practices around the office, and we suggest a regular audit of processes to determine if any vulnerability exists. Whether it’s corporate financials or customer information, determining what would be desirable and then placing controls on it’s exposure to outsiders is crucial. In addition to that, maintaining an updated records management plan is considered to be one of the best bulwarks against problems. By keeping sensitive paperwork securely stored offsite, you significantly lessen the chances of exposure in the office setting, granting peace of mind to employees and management both.

If you have any questions about these threats or other information management questions, The Data Vault would love to help. Contact us today and one of our experts will be in touch, we can provide everything from secure shredding services to records storage, including plan consulting!


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