How to keep your data safe when moving offices

Monday, November 2, 2020 by Tilly Holland

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We are in extraordinary times. The move from office to remote working has become the norm for the majority. With a lot of organizations deciding to move to smaller premises due to the amount of their workforce now remote working, it is usually down to the office manager to sort out the logistical nightmare that is moving to new premises. 

Whether you're a booming business that's outgrowing its existing space, or you're looking to move into more economical digs, making sure the big day goes smoothly is just as stressful for a business as it is in your personal life.

For most, if you ask what the main issues about moving are, they may mention packing up boxes and sorting out communications and utilities. Yet, there is one thing that is often overlooked, namely, how can you be sure your digital data is secure throughout the process. 

This is what we will explore in this blog. 

Ensuring your data is secure

An office move is a prime opportunity for data to end up corrupted, lost, or in the wrong hands. Whether it is careless movers dropping and smashing hard drives, or hardware simply disappearing in transit, there is a range of security risks that need to be taken into account when planning a move.

Therefore, below is a list of some of the most common potential problems that you need to address.

Protecting your hardware

Damage to data storage hardware is a common problem, and some types of equipment will be more vulnerable than others due to issues such as physical impacts, changes in temperature, or damp. But regardless of whether you're transporting PC hard disk drives, servers, or magnetic tapes, careful packaging and handling are essential if you want to avoid needing to engage a data recovery specialist to retrieve loss information.

Before embarking on a move, you should also check equipment for any potential problems. For example, you need to check for unusual noises coming from hard disk drives or error indicators such as warning LEDs. These may indicate that a device is already starting to degrade, and so will be more fragile and vulnerable to bumps and scrapes.

Maintain the chain of custody

When data storage devices are being handed from one person to another throughout the moving process, this presents prime opportunities for items to be lost or stolen in transit. To minimize the risk of this, it's important to maintain a clear chain of custody throughout the process, so it is easy to spot who is responsible for the data at any given point.

The best way to do this is to make sure each item is sealed after being securely packed. This seal should be checked for tampering at each stage of the move and only broken once the storage device is safely at the new location. In the unlikely event of a data breach, the person in charge of the move will be able to provide clear answers about what has happened - something that may be vital for regulatory or insurance purposes.

Document everything

Similarly, it's important that everything is documented – and we do mean everything, up to which cables connect where. Particularly if you're moving large servers with complex wiring, any changes in how they're set up when installed in the old office could lead to problems later on.

Every PC, hard drive, USB stick, and networking hardware needs to be clearly labeled, and any changes logged. Ideally, there should be a hard copy of these records in addition to one stored digitally.

Don't overlook physical security

It's also vital that you don't overlook the physical security of your premises - both old and new - when engaged in a move. We know all too well what a chaotic time this can be for businesses, with people coming in and out of offices at all hours as they try to get the move done with the minimum of disruption. The result of this is any opportunist could take their chance to walk in and help themselves to equipment.

That's why it's vital that physical security policies aren't loosened during the moving process. It may be tempting to leave doors propped open to allow movers easy access, but if you've got sensitive data storage hardware lying around, this could be a very costly mistake.

Know your recovery processes

In the unfortunate event, something does go wrong, and your hardware ends up damaged or missing, it's important you're prepared for this eventuality. For starters, you need to make sure your plans for backups and disaster recovery are up-to-date and have been recently tested. If you wait until you have a problem to discover any weaknesses in this, it's far too late.

Bear all these things in mind, and you can have - if not a completely stress-free move - then at least one where you've got peace of mind that your most important business data will still be there waiting for you when you've taken off the bubble-wrap and settled into your business' new home.

In any event, if you find that you're missing data as a result of an office move, contact us today to see how we can help. 

 

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