What does your desk reveal about you?

clear desk - white with a green plant and a blue chair

Do you know why companies like to have a clear desk / clear screen policy? It’s not just about making the office look clean and smart for visitors, or to make it nicer for you to work in.  

It’s also so that if you get an unexpected visitor during the work day—or possibly an uninvited intruder overnight—they aren’t able to learn anything from what you or your colleagues have lying around on your desk. 

Take a moment to look at the things on and around your desk, and to think about what someone with bad intentions could do with what they can find.  

Maybe you have one or more of the following: 

  • Sticky notes with names and phone numbers on 
  • Documents describing a project your company is working on 
  • A list of clients to contact the next day 
  • An appointments diary, or a rolodex. (Very 1980s, but they still exist) 
  • Keys (to your desk drawers, to your office, to your car…) 
  • A to-do list (what does it reveal about you, your family or your work?) 
  • A USB stick containing sensitive information (a spreadsheet of your colleagues’ salaries perhaps, or performance data) 

It’s not just your desk, though—is there a whiteboard behind you, with sketches and scribbles about your next great product? A piece of A4 on the pinboard announcing upcoming birthdays? And what is on your screen? And so on… 

You get the idea.  

The point of a clear desk policy is to make sure that information about you, your colleagues, your company or your clients is locked away safely when you aren’t there to watch over it. So, do think about clearing away all that potentially revealing information you have around your workspace.  

Just in case. 

If you’d like some help developing security policies—or, of course, any other cyber security support— contact the Click and Protect team on 0113 733 6230.