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An open drawer of a filing cabinet filled with files and confidential documents.

Office Security: How Safe Is Your Filing Cabinet?

While many businesses now store valuable and confidential data on servers and in the cloud, the filing cabinet still plays a big role in the office environment. Standard practices still include keeping employee and customer files, contracts, insurance information and other reference paperwork for convenient on-site access.

Importance of Securing Information Stored in Filing Cabinets

As you know, every filing cabinet that stores any type of confidential information should utilize a lock. This helps ensure that only those who should be accessing the cabinet’s contents can do so and decreases the risk of a physical data breach.

What is the risk if a lock fails or is manipulated? At best, it’s enough to make a company uneasy about what could or did potentially happen. At worst, it means that your customers’ information may have been compromised, something that can erase years’ worth of hard work in gaining their trust. This article will take a closer look at cabinet and office security so that you can avoid being burned.

How Do You Secure a Filing Cabinet?

Before we get into some of the top tips and suggestions for safeguarding cabinets and desks, it’s first important to point out that the locks that these appliances come with, as constructed by the furniture manufacturer, aren’t very high quality. They’re considered typical factory locks, can easily be picked and manipulated and aren’t incredibly long-lasting. That leads us to our first point when it comes to desk and cabinet protection…

Keep Cabinets in Secure Office Areas

It never hurts to double down on protecting your company’s precious files. So, for instance, in addition to improving security with better locks, you might also consider storing cabinets in areas of the office building that also require special access to enter. Keeping important files in a locked cabinet behind a locked door increases the security two-fold.

Add a Filing Cabinet Locking Bar

Important files and confidential documents can be secured with an add-on locking bar. These retrofit security devices are made of thick steel and designed to be installed on the side of the cabinet. When the bar is closed, it can be locked with a padlock.

Watch this video to see how simple it is to install a filing cabinet locking bar.

Enforce Security Policies for Keys

Tight key management policies should apply to keys for filing cabinets, restricted access and storage areas. Business owners need to maintain backup keys and spares, keep track of which employees have a copy of cabinet keys, and use a clear record-keeping process. This will help prevent filing cabinet keys from falling into the wrong hands or getting lost, while ensuring that important files can be accessed when needed.

Use Access Control to Secure the Office

Access control systems are comprehensive security systems that limit and track access to a building or area of a building. They unify the locked entry points of the facility and streamline security with keyless credentials. Using either unique entry codes, proximity readers or biometric scanners, authorized employees and guests can easily gain access to the spaces they need to do their job.

At the same time, access control systems provide a higher level of security for the office. Doors lock automatically, access is recorded, and entry can be blocked during set hours or days.

Change the Original Manufacturer Locks

If you’re serious about desk and/or cabinet security, the first thing you’ll do is swap out the original manufacturer locks. If you’re handy, you might be able to swing this yourself. If not, you can always contact a professional locksmith to do this for you. Switching out the locks to a more secure, better lock will immediately enhance the security of your desks and cabinets in the office.

Periodically Replace Locks

Considering the potential for employee turnover – especially in larger, busier offices – it makes sense to regularly change out the locks on filing cabinets. This effort will help protect the sensitive documents inside.

Upgrade to Electronic Filing Cabinet Locks

To avoid the problem of keys altogether, your office can switch to electronic locking devices. Smart locks that are specially designed to replace standard filing cabinet locks can be configured to meet the needs of your staff. Newer electronic filing cabinet locks can easily be retrofitted to most existing storage cabinets.

Locking and unlocking can be controlled by a keypad, Bluetooth or magnetic proximity reader working with key fobs or access cards. This adds an extra layer of protection for physical data because the locking devices keep a time-stamped record of who accessed the files.

Can You Change a Lock on a File Cabinet?

Like we mentioned in the previous section, swapping out a filing cabinet lock for a new, better one can be a DIY job for those that know what they’re doing. Here’s a quick rundown on how to do it using either a pair of pliers or a wrench:

  1. Open up the cabinet so that you have access to the lock core. You might even consider removing the respective filing cabinet drawer so that you have plenty of room to work.
  2. Ensure that the core is in the “unlocked” position and then, depending on the type of core, reach for a wrench or pair of pliers. Using the respective tool, remove either the clip or the nut.
  3. Remove the core and replace it with the new one.
  4. Retrieve the wrench or pair of pliers and either push the new core into the slot or screw the nut back in.
  5. Replace the cabinet drawer and test the lock to see if it works properly.

Can a Locksmith Make a Key for a Filing Cabinet?

Yes. Locksmiths are specialized in repairing all types of locks and restoring access. If you have misplaced or lost the key to a filing cabinet, the locksmith can use the code on the lock cylinder to make a new key and cut additional copies. If this code is unavailable or illegible, the locksmith can fashion a new key or rekey the lock.

Contact GV Lock Today

For more information on how to best protect your office cabinets and desks, and for information on changing desk and cabinet locks, reach out to Great Valley Lockshop by filling out a service request online.

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