Kudos to the frontline workers! We have witnessed some incredible bravery over the last 20+ months dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Frontline workers of all kinds did amazing things to protect us from further harm. When it comes to many of our businesses, there is another frontline worker who does amazing things every day. This is the first person we see upon entering an office—the receptionist. Their daily duties include welcoming and signing in visitors, taking phone calls, arranging meetings, orchestrating incoming and outgoing packages, monitoring security camera feeds, contacting outside assistance in case of emergencies, and the list goes on. They have an important role in protecting corporate data and security. Here are a few suggestions for equipping this important security role:
Don’t Trust Strangers. Receptionists know a lot about the organization, names, titles, phone numbers, license plates, etc. Anyone in this role should create or ask management to provide a policy on what information can and cannot be shared with an absolute stranger. The social engineering tactics used by today’s digital and real-life cybercriminals are designed to obtain such information to build trust so they can fool the staff and gain access. The policy best used here is trust no one you do not already know.
Avoid Social Media Sites and Personal Email. Sometimes there is downtime at the front door. Do not allow your personnel to succumb to the temptation to fill that time by perusing social media, checking personal email, shopping online or downloading game software to their computer. Many external sites are prone to potentially malicious software. Your receptionist’s computer may not have sensitive data on it, but if breached, can provide a gateway for cybercriminals.
Keep a Clean Desk. Incoming and outgoing communications of all sorts appear on a reception desk and computer. Scammers have been known to readily grab information available in plain sight. Implement a Clean Desk Policy as well as corporate document deleting/shredding standards. More should go to the shredder than to the trash bin!
Get Trained. Since they are almost an island to themselves, sometimes reception personnel are not included in regularly scheduled data security training and testing. Be sure this is not the case in your organization.
Minimize Access. Situate reception and lobby furniture to maximize security for the reception desk staff as well as limit the access an outsider has to the main office area.
Sign In and Badges. Consider a badge system for outsiders to wear whenever venturing beyond the main lobby/reception area.
Alarm System. The front desk should have a panic alarm system in place to alert security staff to an intrusion or event of any sort.
The front line of digital and analog data security is at the reception area! Be sure to put strictures in place to protect that front line!