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A digital spring clean: four handy tips from the Privacy Office

26 February 2024

It’s time for a spring clean! As well as cleaning the windows, Windows on your work laptop could also do with freshening up. Storing documents too long or wrongly can cause a data leak  – and, just as with spring cleaning, those little, easily overlooked places are also important. Take a look at tip 3, because you can already get going with that.

1. Remove all files you no longer need 

Imagine, a colleague draws up an inventory for a new baby gift. Is that list still on your laptop weeks later, with the names of different colleagues? The chances are you won’t be using it again. There are probably a lot more files that you keep unnecessarily, so it’s good to go through your documents and downloads and ask yourself whether you are still going to use them. If the answer is no, just delete the file. If you’re not sure whether you ought to delete something, get in touch with the Documentary Information and Archiving department (hereafter: DIA) via dia@assc.leidenuniv.nl. They know exactly which documents have to be kept.    

2. Delete job application details promptly 

Leiden University is increasing its workforce by 137 employees every month. A lot of job application details are exchanged in the process. If an applicant is not taken on, their details have to be deleted within four weeks. These could be such things as motivation or application letters, a CV, a certificate of conduct and correspondence with an applicant. Don’t forget to delete the mail correspondence attaching this information as well. Extra tip: search for ‘CV’ in your mail programme or Explorer.   

3. Save as much as possible in OneDrive  

Everything that you save locally (on the C-drive) will be gone for good if you lose your laptop, while it is important for the university that information remains available. An easy way to safeguard this information is simply to drag your documents to your OneDrive folder.   

4. Say goodbye to the employee and their data  

When a member of staff leaves, you can keep most of their data for a maximum of two years. These could be such things as  appraisals, correspondence about dismissal or sickness, and employment contracts. If you want to delete other  employee documents than those mentioned here, first check with DIA or the Privacy Office.


If you have any questions about data leaks or the privacy policy, feel free to contact the Privacy Office via privacy@bb.leidenuniv.nl. They will be happy to answer your questions!  

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