Head of information risk at information management company, Iron Mountain.
Christian Toon holds the position of Head of Information Risk for European Operations at storage and information management company, Iron Mountain. Having previously held the role of head of information risk, public sector and healthcare at Iron Mountain, Christian has a wealth of experience in the industry and now ensures that governance, risk and compliance requirements are met within both new and existing contracts from across the continent. These contracts include some of the industry leaders in business today.
Christian enjoys the challenge that comes with interpreting customer problems and solving them with a risk-based approach, with strong interests in the causes of data breaches, identity theft and bring your own device. He is a knowledgeable advisor on all aspects of information security, frequently commenting to online and print media on the latest information threats and how consumers can best protect their sensitive information.
Workplaces are becoming more sophisticated in their approach to information security and more aware of the rising level of threats they face, so it is vital to tackle the compulsion we feel to keep information at arms length. You wouldn't carry your entire life in your handbag or briefcase, so don't expect your business to let you treat your work station as such.
It's a scenario we can all relate to. The one where you've been working tirelessly to finish a document at work, under vast amounts of pressure to get it done in time for a looming deadline. Then, the stomach sink moment hits. Your PC freezes and - after much panicking and shouting at the screen - the document's been lost.
Imagine it was your first day in a new job... you'll spend time finding your way around filing cabinets and IT systems, reviewing information and locating documents you need to do your job... If the organisation you've joined has a solid information management process in place, this will be simple. If it doesn't, working life could quickly become a struggle.
Can companies relax about personal data and consumer fears? Not in the slightest. We may have a better understanding about the benefits of sharing our data with the brands we love, but that does not negate their responsibility to protect that data.
Our ability to create and innovate at work often depends on having access to the right information, to ensure ideas are informed and not a repetition of previous work completed... If information is such an asset, why are so many companies failing to make use of it?
Obviously, signatures on a contract will never be enough to turn two different workforces into a strong single entity with a single culture. This kind of change does not happen overnight and is particularly the case when the employees of one of the firms involved feel like a conquered people whose roles and ways of getting things done are about to change.
Although we would never dream of taking a laptop or chair upon leaving a job, the same cannot be said for information. An Iron Mountain study from 2012 revealed that two thirds of European office workers admit they had taken or would take information they had been involved in creating when they left a job.
You may have seen in the news recently that the European Union is undergoing its first major overhaul of data protection and privacy reforms since 1995. But what will these mean for you and I? In short:
The Iron Mountain study revealed that over half (57 per cent) of firms do nothing with customer communications that arrive on paper. Instead, they wait until we grow sufficiently frustrated to phone or email to ask why nothing's happened, and only then do they act.
Imagine the situation: you're on the train to a meeting, going over some papers and you need to leave the carriage to go grab a coffee from the buffet car. What do you do with your briefcase? You'll only be gone two minutes and your laptop is safely stowed in the office, so what's the harm in leaving it on your seat?
There's something about paper. Not the crisp-sheet-of-A4-fresh-from-the-printer kind of paper, but the slightly crumpled, much-read kind that carries precious words or a faded picture of someone no longer part of our lives, but who once meant everything. The kind of paper that dreams and memories and even history are made of.
If you take a moment to think about every piece of paper you handle in a day, you'll see the paper soon stacks up. Here, for example, are just some of the paper items that passed through my hands today...
When faced with the prospect of clocking in again from the comfort of home, think about what is appropriate to take with you from the office. Do you feel overwhelmed by your workload? Is that why you are taking work home? If yes, your workplace and colleagues should be helping you to address this and provide support, advice and training where needed.
With today's focus on digital communications, and the potential for confidential information to be shared online or lost on a mobile device, it's not surprising that organisations turn first to the IT department to manage their information security.
Office secrets: when you know they're going around it can be torture not being in on them. Whether it's closed blinds on a managers' meeting, furtive internal emails or hushed whispers in the kitchen, there'll always be someone desperate to know what's going on.
When you take the time to think about all the information held by all the companies you've ever done business with, in either your professional or personal life, it is frightening to think that at any moment it could be put at risk. But it is in fact the consumer who should be able to wield the most power when it comes to compelling businesses to take greater responsibility for information security.