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Does Your School Still Use Paper-Based Files? 3 Reasons for a Data Protection Safe

  • By Tonya Davis
  • 09 Jan, 2017

Despite the recent shift to electronic record-keeping systems, the amount of paperwork required to be kept on-site by schools is greater than ever. Schools keep confidential records on a wide range of topics, from student behavioural files to staff payroll information. Many schools make do with a set of binders sitting in the principal's office, but as legislative provisions and Department of Education policies mandate everstricter security requirements, this may no longer be sufficient.

A data protection safe, or secure document cabinet, is an inexpensive and efficient way to maintain the security of important documents. Here are three reasons why your school should invest in one.

Access Control

Keeping your school's records in a data protection safe means that access to files can be restricted to only those staff who require it as part of their job. Without protections, other people may gain access. Cleaners, for example, may have unrestricted access to the office after hours, and older students who find themselves in the principal's office for disciplinary reasons may be left alone on occasion.

Consider personnel files, for example. These are sensitive documents that could cause considerable damage to the individuals concerned if placed into the wrong hands. Although keeping these files in locked room, such as the principal's office, is a good first step, there is still a risk that these documents could fall victim to prying eyes. Keeping paper-based records in a data protection safe means that nobody can access the files without a key or passcode.

Legal Requirements

Schools are subject to a multiplicity of state and federal legislation on a variety of topics, and recordkeeping is no exception.

Schools are subject to the  Privacy Act 1988 and are required to take reasonable steps to maintain the security of the personal information they collect. This may include student records, staff personnel files, and financial information collected from parents. Fines may apply to both the school and the individual for non-compliance. 

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner recommends that paper files are appropriately secured when not in use, and even goes so far as to suggest that failing to have measures in place to prevent break-ins may be a breach of the Act. Therefore, a data protection safe is an investment worth considering to ensure your school does not fall foul of the law.

School Continuity and Disaster Preparedness

Like any other organisation, schools are vulnerable to natural disasters and other events that may cause the destruction of paper records. 

Bush fires, for example, are a feature of the Australian natural environment. Around 150 schools are currently listed on the Department of Education's Bushfire Zone Register, meaning they are at a high degree of risk when the statewide fire danger rating is high. In addition, virtually all schools are vulnerable to man-made causes of destruction, such as arson.

Imagine if all of your school's records were destroyed due to a fire or other disaster event. How would you pay your staff, and what would this mean for your students' education?Many data protection safes are now fire- and heat-resistant, meaning they have been built to withstand the scorching temperatures that result from flames. By investing in a fire-proof secure document cabinet, your school will be able to bounce back from any kind of disaster.

Records management is probably the last thing on any principal or school administrator's mind. However, keeping your records safe is not only a school's legal responsibility, but also crucial for ensuring its smooth operation. Although those binders on your bookshelf may have served you well over the years, you never know when prying eyes or disasters might strike. Get in touch with the  Askwith Company  today for a quote on a new data protection safe.

Blog

By Tonya Davis 21 Feb, 2017
By Website Team Technicians 22 Dec, 2016
You're thrilled that your child can finally crawl or walk. But with your child's new mobility comes increased concern for his or her safety. If you haven't childproofed your home, he or she could get injured.

Fortunately, protecting your child from common home dangers doesn't have to be difficult. Follow these guidelines and you can breathe a little easier.


1. Get a Gun Safe

If you own a gun, your first priority should be purchasing a high-quality gun safe. If your gun isn't stowed out of reach, your child's curiosity can quickly turn to tragedy.

Gun safes are highly durable, and they're typically made from thick solid steel. Some come with a typical lock and key, and others come with electronic locks. You should consider investing in a safe with a separate lockable ammunition compartment. That way, even if you forget to lock the safe, your child can't access the ammunition.

Before you place the gun in the safe, remember to remove the ammunition and set the safety catch to prevent it from firing.

2. Install Latches on Cabinets

As your child moves around your home, he or she might grab medicines, household cleaners or other dangerous items. Putting these items on high shelves away from your child's reach may not be enoughespecially once your child learns how to climb.

Instead, install safety latches on all the drawers where you store hazardous items. You'll be able to unlatch and open the drawers, but your child won't.

3. Place Outlet Protectors

Children often stick their fingers or other objects in electrical outlets, and this action can cause electrocution. You can reduce the risk of electrocution by covering every outlet within your children's reach with an outlet protector. However, some children might be able to remove these outlet protectors-so look for outlet covers with safety latches.

4. Use Safety Gates

You probably want to keep your child out of certain areas of your house. For example, your bedroom might contain many valuables your son or daughter could break. In that case, place a gate in front of the door that your child can't cross, even when the door is open.

Another important place to install a safety gate is in front of the staircase. If your child hasn't yet learned how to walk down the stairs, a wrong step could send him or her tumbling down. You should use gates that mount to the door frame to ensure your child won't knock it over.

5. Assess Your Furniture

When you have an energetic baby, the furniture around your house suddenly becomes a danger.

Look around your home for any heavy furniture that could fall, such as dresses, bookcases and televisions. Move them securely against the wall, and bolt them to the wall if possible.

Tables can be particularly dangerous. In the first years of life, your child is at the perfect height to hit his or her head against the corners of tables. There's a solution: corner and edge bumpers. Place them on the corners of each table, and your child's head will bump against a soft surface.

If any of your window blinds have dangling cords, replace them right away, as children can accidentally strangle themselves with these cords.

6. Be Aware of Water

Remember that children can drown even in a small amount of water. If they fall face first in the water, they may be unable to get up. Don't leave water unattended in your home, whether it's in the bathtub or a bucket.

If you have a pool, make sure it's protected with a cover-and surrounded by a fence.

 

Follow these tips and your child can explore your home safely.
By Website Team Technicians 22 Dec, 2016
Many people assume the most secure place to keep valuables is in a bank safe. After all, these safes have constant security and alarm systems protecting them. However, banks rarely insure these deposit boxes.

On the other hand, home safes are often insured by renters or homeowners insurance. These safes also allow you to access important documents without waiting for the bank to open. You can keep your important documents in your home, protected from fire, burglary and floods.

As a rule of thumb, you should keep any item that would be hard to replace in your safety-deposit box. However, here are some additional items you may want to include in your safe:

  1. Insurance policies.   You will need your property insurance information immediately following an accident or natural disaster damages your home. You will also need to know how to contact your insurance agent to file a claim. Keep this information in your safe to protect it in case of a fire.
  2. Passports and identification cards.   You don't want your identification documents to get into the wrong hands. Place your passport and a copy of your driver's licence in your safe in case you lose the originals and to reduce the risk for identity theft.
  3. Original birth and marriage certificates.   You usually only have one copy of these documents, so keep them in a secure location where they won't get stolen or lost.
  4. Medical information.   Have your family's doctor information, pharmacy contact information and prescription medications in your safe. In case of a medical emergency, you will need this information close by.
  5. External hard drive.   Many people keep important information on their computer where it could get hacked or lost from a virus. Keep all family pictures, tax documents and online passwords on an external hard drive in your safe. This device ensures you have an extra copy of all your important digital files.
  6. Bank safe keys.   If you have a safe in the bank, keep the keys in your home safe to protect them from theft.
  7. Bank account, outstanding debt and retirement plan information.   After a fire, you will want to have documentation of all your financial information. Additionally, in case of death, you will want your posterity to have access to this information as well.
  8. Cash.   You may need cash on hand in case of an emergency.
  9. Legal documents.   If you have any legal documents, keep them protected in your safe. For example, if you have a will, store it in the safe. When you pass away, your loved ones will need to access a copy of the will to make sure your final wishes are met as soon as possible. Keeping a copy in your safe will also ensure your loved ones get taken care of during a time of great loss.
  10. Expensive or rare jewellery.   You may want to protect expensive jewellery from theft but still have it close enough that you access it without much effort. These pieces may include heirloom jewellery or rare coins. Always keep an inventory of your rare jewellery with photos and written appraisals for your personal records.  
  11. Household inventory.   After a fire, you probably won't be able to recall every possession in your home that was damaged. However, to file an insurance claim you will need that information. Keep an inventory of home items in your safe to protect them from fire damage.
  12. Stock and bond certificates.   You may have electronic access to investment information. However, keeping written documents in a safe may be useful when you want to redeem them.
  13. Vehicle titles and spare keys.   Keep your vehicle documentation in your safe, along with an extra pair of keys in case the original set gets lost or stolen.  
Take time to compile your important documents and valuables. Then, organize them into your home safe. Keeping them in a secure location will ensure you have them during an emergency.
By Website Team Technicians 22 Dec, 2016
It is an exciting time to be a first-time home buyer in the Western Australian market because the government pays up to $10,000 towards the purchase as part of the First Home Owner Grant scheme. Now that you have found the home of your dreams and are impatiently waiting for the settlement to take place, your mind has likely turned to moving day. As well as organising a moving truck, you need to call your local locksmith, and there are two good reasons why.

Someone Else May Have Keys to Your Home

During the 2015-2016 financial year, there were 28,489 residential burglaries compared to 10,078 non-dwelling burglaries. Burglaries are often an opportunistic crime, and having keys to your home land in the wrong hands certainly lends itself to opportunity.

When you take ownership of your home, you know it has been previously lived in. But how many new owners consider whether the previous owners were honest? Are you 100% confident there are no other keys to your front door floating around in the hands of someone who is waiting for you to go out? Does your new neighbour have a key? If the home was previously rented, are you 100% sure the tenant didn't make a key copy and give it to their mate?

There is only one way you can be 100% guaranteed you and your family members are the only people who have a key to your home, and that way is to get the locks changed on move-in day. You don't want the thrill of owning your first home to be marred by disappointment when your home is broken into just days after moving in.

Someone May Be Watching Your Trash Piles

Many young couples moving into their first home go on a little spending spree and purchase new furniture and electronics for the house. They may go shopping because the existing furnishings doesn't match the new décor or perhaps there is no better way to celebrate than to put a large, shiny new TV up on the wall.

However, there are less-than-honest people who notice things like new television boxes sitting at the kerb on trash day, and this box is a big beacon advertising you now have something worth taking in your home. Microwaves, blenders and other kitchen appliances all have boxes to be disposed of. Anything small enough to be grabbed and carried can quickly be removed from your home and either sold at the markets or pawned for some quick cash.

When organising a locksmith to change the locks on your home, choose one who also offers home security systems. Discuss what you want to protect and where the house is vulnerable. It is not necessary to buy an elaborate security system to protect your belongings. One study performed by a UK company exposed that even a simple home security system is enough to send a burglar elsewhere. Once again, burglars are looking for quick opportunities, and a security system can hinder their efforts for a quick getaway.

When you get ready to move into your home, book a locksmith to meet you there once you have officially settled on the property. This measure is the only way to give you the peace of mind that your home is safe and secure. Change the locks, install a security system and then enjoy moving all your old and new belongings in the protected home of your dreams.

If you'd like to speak with a locksmithing professional, contact the experts at Askwith Company. We'll provide you with the answers you seek so you can feel comfortable in your home.
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