Every organization needs a clear screen policy, which requires employees to lock their computer screens when not in use. Such policies help ensure that sensitive information will not be visible to people passing by and that computer systems will not be available to unauthorized users who could modify or delete important information — or input malicious data.

What to Include in the Policy

If you want to prevent damage to your company's data and improve confidentiality and security, start by creating a written policy. Consider including the following:

  • Purpose of the Policy
    State why the policy exists: to improve security and confidentiality by preventing unauthorized access to potentially sensitive or confidential information on devices.
  • To Whom and What the Policy Applies
    The policy should apply to all employees and contract workers who are using any device for business-related purposes.
  • Policy Statement
    Include detailed instructions, such as: Any device with a screen left unattended while on company premises must be locked and password protected.
  • How It Will Be Enforced
    State who will monitor for compliance and that random or scheduled inspections may be required. Explain that anyone who violates the policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination and contractors may be dismissed from their assignment.

How to Implement the Policy

If your employees are accustomed to leaving their screens unlocked and open when they're taking a break or even when they leave work, a clear screen policy may be a disruptive change employees will need to get used to. Start by communicating why you are implementing the change and how the new policy can actually ensure that your company's confidential information is protected and that it lowers the risk of fraud or information misuse.

Once everyone understands the reasons for the policy, provide them with copies of it and have them sign and acknowledge receipt of the policy. By getting employees on board to help protect your company's information, you can help ensure better data security and better protection of your company's information.

Tags: Handbooks Policies Data Security