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3 Easily-Preventable Information Disposal Mistakes

You may think that you’re doing everything right in protecting your business data but your information disposal practices may be telling a different story.  Data breaches commonly occur at the final point of disposal due to carelessness and negligence.  Fortunately, you can prevent the exposure of sensitive data by remaining on the lookout for the following information disposal mistakes.

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1. Reliance on shredding machines

It’s common for businesses to rely on shredding machines for the internal disposal of confidential documents.  Yet a number of factors associated with reliance on these machines may actually put sensitive information at risk.  Typically, although shredding machines are made available for the disposal of paperwork, they are frequently underutilized.

Disposing of a mere handful of documents can take a considerable amount of time, as shredding machines can only accommodate a few sheets of paper at a time—meaning documents have to be separated into easily shredded portions.  Files, stapes and paperclips have to be removed prior to shredding to prevent damage to shredding blades.  Even so, paper jams are frequent and require immediate remedying.  The shredding receptacle also requires frequent emptying.  Given the hassle of using a shredding machine, employees may be tempted to abandoned their use altogether.  As a result, the disposal of confidential business information should combine convenience, security and verifiable processes.

When shredding machines are utilized, they still don’t offer a complete method for destroying sensitive paperwork.  Material is often shredded in continuous strips, allowing for relatively easy reconstruction of documents containing sensitive data.  Identity theft experts recommend that documents should be shredded using a cross-cut method as instead of strip shredding.

An outsourced professional shredding and destruction service offers a comprehensive solution for the disposal of your business records.  A scheduled shred service utilizing shred collection containers enables files to be quickly and securely disposed of and subsequently destroyed beyond recognition.  A Certificate of Destruction serves as an official verification document and provides evidence of legal and regulatory compliance.  The right shredding provider may also be able to provide you with the following service options:

  • one-time file purges
  • on-site mobile shredding
  • offsite plant based shredding

2. Not heeding records retention policies

A records retention policy not only defines how long to keep records for professional, legal and regulatory purposes, but also designates defined dates for when to dispose of information.  Holding on to documents and files beyond retention periods is neither economically sound, nor does it make sense on a number of other levels.

Expired records containing confidential data increases the data breach exposure risks.  While documents may no longer be useful to your business, any personal and financial information may be extremely valuable to a thief.  Further, expired records that have not been disposed of may be considered discoverable from a legal and regulatory standpoint.  Therefore, it’s important to have a records management solution that allows you to manage your documents throughout the entire retention lifecycle.

3. Choosing the wrong shredding partner

Many companies make bad decisions when it comes to choosing a shredding company for the disposal of confidential information.  It’s easy to be lured by low-cost providers, but a shredding company that doesn’t follow documented and secure disposal processes is putting your confidential data at risk. Therefore it’s important to choose a local shredding company with both long-term experience and a strong reputation.  Additionally, National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA certification ensures you’re dealing with a solution provider that adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards and provides the following:

  • screened employees
  • written security and operations policies and procedures
  • restricted access to confidential material
  • documented chain of custody protocols

Pacific Records Management provides professional records management and shredding solutions for businesses throughout Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, and Napa and Solano Counties.  For more information, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.

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