photo credit: ivoryelephantphotography
As you progress in your career as an Administrative Assistant, and especially as an Executive Assistant, you’ll be working more and more with confidential documents. Pretty much every interview you go on will ask you about your experience in handling these types of documents. Below are some tips for properly handling confidential files.
Handling Confidential Electronic Files
You should take precautions that confidential data isn’t seen while you are working with the electronic files.
- Position your desk so someone cannot easily stand behind you and see your computer screen. I habitually set my desk up so that my back it to a wall.
- Get a privacy screen for your monitor, which will limit the angle at which someone can view your screen.
- Make sure to enable a password protected screensaver, so that any document you are working on is protected if you step away from your desk. I usually set mine for about 3 minutes. Annoying, but safe.
- Ideally, lock your computer when you step away (in Windows, type Ctrl-Alt-Delete and then K to lock your computer).
- Encrypt all confidential files. Find the file on Windows Explorer, right click it, and choose Encrypt (for Win XP and higher).
- Delete your temp files regularly. Every time you open an attachment in Outlook, a copy goes to your temp files, including confidential documents.
Keeping Hard Copies Confidential
- Put a cover page on all confidential documents.
- Mark each page of the document with a SECRET watermark.
- Remember, don’t print confidential documents to a shared or public printer.
- Number copies of confidential documents and have each copy signed for so you can track each copy.
- When not in use, confidential documents should be locked in a desk or file cabinet.
- When you’re finished with a confidential document, shred it in a high quality, crosscut shredder. Strip shred documents are very easy to reconstruct.
One of the hallmarks of a good administrative assistant is the ability to handle confidential data. Assure your boss that you know how to properly handle confidential files.