Evaluating and Strengthening Your Document Disposal Practices

Remember the image of the office worker crumpling up a document and launching it into a trashcan as if they were shooting hoops? You would probably go into shock if you saw that happening in your organization. Privacy protection awareness has come a long way in a relatively short period of time given the advent of HIPAA, FACTA and GLB. High-profile data breaches have become newspaper headlines. But despite all this, negligent document disposal practices do still occur. With privacy protection so important on so many levels, the shredding process you currently have in place is worth evaluating and strengthening.

When documents are destroyed

Most organizations do not have hard and fast rules in place to destroy day-to-day paperwork when it is no longer needed. Often employees are told to use shredding machines, but the frequency of shredding is left to their discretion. While not safer, it is much easier to deposit sensitive material in a trash receptacle rather than proactively take the necessary steps to securely destroy it. As a result, documents may be left improperly exposed for several days before they are shredded. It’s not uncommon for sticky notes containing sensitive client information to be left at workstations overnight or even longer. Some employees may collect no-longer-needed documents for a week or more, choosing to shred them on a periodic basis.

Because shredding documents takes a significant amount of time, it simply is not a top priority for most employees, who have a responsibility to focus on core business responsibilities. Companies that utilize a professional document shredding service have better luck ensuring that sensitive documents are destroyed in a timely manner. The use of shredding collection containers eliminates the need for employee use of a shredding machine. Rather, paperwork can be easily and quickly deposited into a locked bin and/or console. When placed at various locations throughout a facility, shredding collection containers facilitate regular disposal of confidential documents. Ideal bin placement locations include:

  • adjacent to printers/copiers
  • common work areas
  • hallways or corridors

On a regularly scheduled basis, your document shredding vendor arrives at your facility and either shreds all material on-site or transports it to a secure shredding plant for destruction.

How your company destroys confidential information

With data breach news an almost daily occurrence, every company has become more aware of the need for privacy protection. As a result, more businesses are spending more money purchasing shredding machines, which seems like a logical, preventative solution. Yet, even organizations that are diligent about in-house shredding are still at risk. Typically, all shredded material is collected in the shredding machine’s receptacle, bagged and then thrown in a dumpster. A thief can easily reach in, and steal the bag containing shredded material. Because most shredding equipment only shreds paper into strips, rather than particles, confidential information can be reconstructed.

A document shredding service provides a stringent chain of custody procedures that eliminate the threat of confidential information exposure. Collection of material to be shredded is handled by professional, screened and uniformed shredding technicians. An on-site, mobile shredding option allows for firsthand witnessing of the destruction process while off-site shredding is performed at a secure facility featuring:

  • perimeter security
  • digital surveillance
  • strict access control monitoring

Outsourcing the shredding and destruction of your business documents fortifies privacy protection for your employees and customers. It keeps your business compliant with the regulations your company is required to follow and enables your whole organization to operate with greater confidence.

Pacific Records Management provides secure document shredding services to businesses throughout Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, and Napa and Solano Counties. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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