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Designing An Acoustically Confidential Workplace

While many of our clients are interested in acoustics because of information security issues, just as many are concerned about employee wellbeing and productivity. Suffice it to say, acoustic privacy provides a host of benefits, but for this post our primary concern is information security, not employee wellbeing or unique, non-confidentiality-based operational soundproofing needs. A lack of acoustic confidentiality can lead to such potentially devastating consequences as product launch information being leaked to competitors, manufacturing advantages being lost, product designs being stolen, formulas being provided to competitors, etc.2. Particularly relevant to government contractors, sensitive information cannot fall into the wrong hands for reasons of national security, and while lax cybersecurity is more likely to be a cause of mishandled information, acoustic privacy is a significant part of designing for maximum confidentiality. Equal if not more stringent regulations govern government-operated Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, as laid out in Director of Central Intelligence Directive No. 6/9, Section 3.3.2.3. Managers may face similar concerns regarding potentially sensitive conversations with subordinates. Lastly, there are certain spaces in an office where privacy is implied, such as phone rooms, and acoustic confidentiality is more a matter of employee trust than it is a legal requirement.

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