We live in a digital age, but despite this, businesses still produce a tremendous amount of paper wastage each year. Protecting your sensitive information is a big concern for anyone but is especially important for commercial companies who often have customers and partners relying on trustworthy data privacy. Just one mistake, and you could be landed with a large fine for breaching the Data Protection Act.
This is where paper shredding services come in. They will destroy the documents, often on-site. They will not just shred it; they may even incinerate them so that dumpster divers wouldn’t be able to recover them.
However, if you want to learn about the proper techniques of getting rid of confidential wase, read on. This article will tell you what you should dispose of and when and how to do it. Let’s get into it!
General safety tips
Before we get deeper into the matter, here are some tips for the best safety of your documents and the sensitive data they may contain:
- Train your employees – educate your staff on the importance of thoroughly checking documentation and electrical storage before they discard it. If your staff are aware of an error’s implications, they will be more likely to dispose of waste more thoughtfully.
- Check local laws – check with your local government’s rules on document destruction, as policies may differ between areas. Generally, shredders are accepted as the surefire technique to destroy sensitive documentation, while electrical devices will need to be wiped using specialist equipment.
- Shred and recycle – you should be shredding confidential paper, but do not stop there. When you recycle the shredded documents, you keep them out of the landfill. Data thieves often go to the county dump to find sensitive information to exploit.
- Shred everything – too many documents have some information that should not be shared. The best practice is to shred everything rather than throw away paper lest something slip through the cracks. Taking the guesswork out of whether an item should be shredded is the best option.
- Keep hard copies secure – most businesses keep documents long after they need them. Remember, several people come into your office, including customers, vendors, and cleaning personnel. Therefore, you should have a plan in place to secure all paper documents so that they do not inadvertently fall into the wrong hands.
What you should get rid of
Generally, any platform with personal information, either about yourself, your company, or anybody else, is considered to be confidential. This can include:
- Medical information or health records
- Legal information
- Credit card or financial information
- HR documents (e.g., applications, contracts, payroll, wage slips)
- Customer or partner details
- Operational information about your company, such as your strategies or plans
This information can be kept on paper, CDs, computers, or any other electronic device. Whatever medium this information is located on, it needs to be treated as confidential and disposed of accordingly.
Why professional paper shredding services matter
While sophisticated hackers can break into a company’s computers to steal data, a more low-tech problem faces businesses too. Small businesses, in particular, often lack hard copy data security policies. Having a shredding plan in place and using an outside vendor to execute it protects your customer’s data. It also saves you from a lawsuit.
Besides, when you outsource paper shredding, you free up your staff to concentrate on what matters the most – your business and the bottom line.
Most organizations do not have the expertise to ensure the total security of the document destruction process. Nor do they have the equipment necessary for storing and shredding sensitive documents, such as locked security consoles and industrial-standard, multi-edge, cross-cut shredding machines. Finally, they do not have the human resources needed to support the tight chain of custody around the document destruction process.
By outsourcing your document destruction needs, you can gain access to years of experience and comprehensive expertise of a professional document destruction service provider. In doing so, you significantly reduce the risk of costly and damaging mishaps or accidents, potentially leading to security breaches, data protection violations, and identity theft and fraud.
A chance to go paperless
Many business processes can now be done digitally. Going paperless reduces the volume of records you will have in hard copy. This is one of the best ways to guarantee safety in your document storage and disposal. With a single click, you can delete a record and forget all about it.
Indeed, it is not possible to do away with written documents thoroughly, and that digital forms of data storage come with their own set of issues, regular shredding frees you up to go paperless.
This has many advantages – instead of rifling through dozens of file cabinets, it is easier to perform a simple word or file search on a computer. Another great benefit is all the free office space you’ll reclaim once you get rid of mountains of boxes, allowing you to put that same space to more profitable uses. Also, having too much paper around the office is a fire hazard.
With an excellent document-shredding company on your team, you can keep only the most essential hard copies in your office.
Check out our guide to choosing office flooring materials as well.