Awareness : Security Awareness Tips

Treat Paper Records & Electronic Data Equally

Sensitive information on paper is the same as sensitive information on a computer. Both need to be protected from unauthorized access and should be treated with caution and discretion. In particular, protected health information (PHI) in all forms is covered by the HIPAA privacy regulations.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to print out sensitive electronic information on paper and make copies. Do not leave these copies lying around in open areas within your workspace, as this information may be seen or even taken by unauthorized parties. If you would not want someone to read that information on your computer, you probably would not want them to read the same information on paper.

Keep printouts of sensitive information such as medical records in a secure location, such as a locked desk, locked filing cabinet or a safe. Avoid leaving sensitive documents unattended, especially in high traffic areas.

Always shred copies of sensitive information when disposing - do not simply toss them in the trash. Cross-cut shredders are very useful in making printed sensitive information both unreadable and unusable. Remember to shred any printouts containing any information that would be useful to identity thieves, an ever-increasing problem. This includes documents containing any personal, financial or protected health information.

The University of Miami School of Medicine has a contract to provide centralized shredding services. This service is available to all School of Medicine departments.

If you need recycling bins for your area, please call 305-243-1052. For more information and to identify your areas, please email Frances Kaniewski at

Posted March 21, 2005