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When Disposing of Confidential Information, Remember the Following

Disposing Of Confidential Information

At one time or another, every business could end up dealing with theft of their confidential or sensitive information. Whatever information your company stores should be secured or properly destroyed if it’s no longer needed. To help avoid the theft of confidential information, every company should implement a document disposal process.

When faced with the challenge of safeguarding information, it’s best to follow the following disposing of confidential information guidelines:

Develop a confidential information management policy
In order to lower your company’s chances of experiencing a data breach, it’s best to establish a specific business records retention schedule. This type of policy will help determine how long your business should store confidential documents or records. Your policy should specifically state how confidential files are dealt with and who should have access to them. Every employee in the company should be trained and face consequences if they don’t adhere to the company’s confidential information policy.

Change your company’s environmental impact
It’s not just illegal to throw away documents with sensitive information, there is also a significant environmental impact. Recycling is effective, but for confidential documents it may not be secure enough – shredding is a better way to ensure that sensitive information does not get into the wrong hands. It’s not efficient or effective to rely on store-bought shredding machines – they cannot handle the disposal of confidential information in high volumes, or destroy a digital media storage device.

Most experts suggest that paper should always be shredded using a cross-cut method in order to destroyed beyond recognition and most store-bought shredders don’t feature that ability. To save the environment, it’s best to cut paper down to a size which can be recycled more easily – only professional shredding equipment can shred down to the smallest size.

Make sure you find the right shredding company
Proper disposing of confidential information is always worth the extra investment. Don’t put your confidential information at risk by choosing just any shredding and destruction service. A professional shredding company can help you stay in compliance. Avoid legal trouble, help save the environment and obtain peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can to protect the valuable information you store.

It’s best to find an experienced shredding company with a strong reputation and good references. Look for a provider that is certified by the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID). If they are AAA certified, then you know they are working with the highest ethical and professional standards.

There are many reasons why a professional shredding company will help. They typically provide a certificate of destruction which will prove that your company is in compliance with shredding and destruction regulations. A professional and accredited service is ideal, because if an identity theft case ever surfaces, your business could be held liable.

Most of these companies will provide certificates of destruction which prove that the shredding and destruction process was properly executed. They can also help your company avoid legal trouble, help save the environment and provide the proper protection for the valuable information you store.

IntelliShred is a full-service document shredding and destruction company which offers daily, weekly, and monthly service packages. We are NAID members and we have a fleet of mobile shredding and destruction trucks with state-of-the-art equipment. Learn more about how we can help you protect your business – contact us today for more information on our services.

Corporate Information Management

With the many recent reports of fraud and theft, companies both large and small are always a target. Today’s employers must work diligently to prevent the theft of confidential and proprietary information.

Regulations like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are in place to offer protection, but companies should also add on policies and procedures which help them safeguard against fraud.

It’s simple for organizations to establish and enforce corporate information management security policies – following these steps will help them combat against fraud.

First Step: Identify and prioritize confidential information within your organization

Most organizations need to begin by categorizing their confidential information by value and confidentiality. By doing this first step, companies can prioritize which data to secure first. Customer information systems or employee record systems are the easiest places to start. Social Security numbers, account numbers, personal identification numbers, credit card numbers and other types of structured information that will need to be protected. Contracts, financial releases and customer correspondence are also important to protect.

Second Step: Perform a risk assessment and study current corporate information management

It’s necessary to see exactly how confidential information flows around the organization. Identifying the processes that involve confidential information is a straightforward exercise, but determining the risk of leakage requires a more in-depth examination. The following questions are important to get answers to:

Who can access these confidential information assets?

How are these assets created, modified, processed or distributed?

What type of gap exists between stated procedures and the exact actions of employees/staff?

Keeping these questions in mind, companies will be able to identify vulnerabilities in their handling of corporate information management.

Third Step: Determine the appropriate levels of access to confidential information

A company can develop distribution policies for all types of corporate information management based on the risk assessment. These policies should govern exactly who can access, use or receive which type of content and when, as well as oversee enforcement actions for violations of those policies.

Distribution policies should be created for the following types of confidential information:

Customer information

Executive communications

Intellectual property

Employee records

When these distribution policies are better defined, companies can then also implement monitoring and enforcement points along the communication paths.

Fourth Step: Implement adequate monitoring and an enforcement system

It’s crucial for companies to monitor and enforce established policies. The system created should monitor information usage and traffic, verifying compliance with distribution policies. Software systems can accurately identify threats and prevent them from affecting the company. The monitoring system should have the ability to avoid false alarms as well.

Fifth Step: Review monitoring progress and level of fraud risk

The most effective way organizations can protect against fraud is to regularly review their systems, policies and training. Through monitoring systems, organizations can improve employee training, expand deployment and systematically eliminate vulnerabilities. Systems should be reviewed regularly Both internal and external audits are useful for eliminating vulnerabilities and threats.

Today’s companies need to identify sensitive data; understand current business processes; craft appropriate access, establish distribution policies and monitor all communications. One of the easiest ways to safeguard your confidential information is to shred and destroy documents and information storage devices.

The benefits of hiring a professional shredding and electronic destruction service are clear – it’s the most effective way to avoid facing information security risks. It’s absolutely crucial to put safeguards in place that will protect your business. IntelliShred has been awarded the highest security rating, “AAA Certified” by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). Contact us today on how we can assist you.

Handling Confidential Information

In today’s information age, every business should be knowledgeable about handling confidential information. No matter the industry, size or scope that the company works within, there should be comprehensive information disposal process put in place.

These are the top five mistakes companies make with handling confidential information:

MISTAKE #1 Not controlling employee access to confidential records
Whether it’s paper documents or information that is stored digitally, it’s crucial to control access to it by using passwords, firewalls and encryption. When passwords are used to control access, they should be changed on a regular basis. Although we live in a mostly digital world, some businesses still deal with a lot of hard copies. In order to safely and securely store confidential paper documents, you should have lockable storage cabinets available that are only accessed by certain employees.

MISTAKE #2: No policy in place to protect confidential records
There’s an easy way to diminish the risk of experiencing a data breach. Simply establish a policy that dictates exactly how long your business should store confidential documents or records. It’s not recommended that confidential files are kept for longer than they are needed because that could increase your company’s risk of a data breach or identity theft.

MISTAKE #3 Not properly training employees on how to handle confidential records
It’s simple – make sure your employees know what risk they could face if they don’t learn how to handle the confidential information that your company stores. It’s essential to explain why data confidentiality is so important and offer them the many ways they can protect it. Teach them how to use secure passwords, make them follow a process for secure hard drive destruction, shredding and destroying documents or information storage devices and most importantly, explain the consequences of not doing these things. It’s very practical to train your employees in-house, but you can hire professionals to help you as well.

MISTAKE #4: Using store-bought shredding machines to shred paper documents
There’s nothing that compares to the efficiency and accuracy of a professional shredding service. Store-bought shredding machines are not equipped to handle large volumes of paper at one time and before you shred, you must remove staples and paper clips. These machines also require constant maintenance because they frequently jam and break down.

MISTAKE #5: Not hiring a professional shredding company
Hiring a professional shredding company for the disposal of confidential information is the best solution. It’s important to choose a vendor with a strong reputation and good references that is certified by the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID). They should have received proper AAA certification, which proves they are working within the highest ethical and professional standards.

Hiring a professional shredding company will give you the peace of mind that you’ve properly protected the confidential information you store. IntelliShred provides full-service document shredding and destruction on site, and offers daily, weekly, monthly, service packages. We can help you protect your business – contact us today to learn more about our services.

Safeguard Confidential Information

There are many ways businesses can reduce the risk of facing information theft and security breaches. One of the easiest preventive measures to implement is a routine schedule of the destruction of documents to shred and other information storage devices. It’s essential to hire a professional paper shredding company in order to safeguard confidential information.

There are daily reports of fraud, theft and hacking these days, and today’s companies both large and small are definite targets. Most recently, thieves have executed increasingly complex attacks, threatening businesses worldwide. When that happens to a business and their brand, there could be irreparable damage, revenue loss, hefty fines, and even legal action.

According to the Computer Security Institute and the FBI, data theft is growing at more than 650% over the past three years. There are government regulations like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. These laws were put in place to help protect companies from fraud and theft.

It’s necessary to have a comprehensive Digital Defense strategy in place, and it’s clear that part of your strategy should include the shredding and destruction of your digital media storage devices. If your company is going to shield itself, it’s best to be proactive against the current threats.

Hiring a shredding and destruction service is the one of the most secure ways to safeguard confidential information to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Regardless of size, industry or specialty, any business can benefit from hiring a professional paper shredding company to help protect valuable data.

It’s also more efficient and more productive – much better than paying your staff overtime to complete the task. The average U.S. office worker uses approximately one sheet of paper every 12 minutes and disposes of roughly 100 – 200 pounds of paper every year. Think of how much time is saved if a professional shredding service is used. When you outsource the job, your employees have more time to focus on more important work.

When you hire a professional shredding service, they should be able to offer the convenience, flexibility affordability and security you are searching for. Mobile shredding trucks make it easy by coming directly to your business to shred on premises. Every service should offer to haul your shredded or destroyed items away and provide you with a Certificate of Destruction, proving that everything was safely destroyed. The shredding and destruction process should also involve security cameras, monitors and other specialized equipment to ensure that everything is handled securely.

Whatever volume of shredded material your business generates, an experienced professional shredding service will make it easy for you to safeguard confidential information. Documents and digital media storage devices should always be shredded in accordance with NAID AAA standards – make sure that the service you hire has met and exceeded these standards.

At IntelliShred, we are certified and have a team of experts ready to handle whatever shredding job you have. We’ve had years of success in helping our customers with professional shredding and destruction services. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you safeguard confidential information.

Theft Of Confidential Information

Today there are many different threats a business could face – but the costliest threat is theft of confidential information. Here are four steps you can take to protect your company and its sensitive data:

Step #1: Monitor how confidential information is handled and stored
It’s most ideal when companies categorize types of confidential information. By doing this, it’s helpful to prioritize what data to secure first. Customer information systems or employee record systems can safely contain Social Security numbers, account numbers, identification numbers, and other types of sensitive information need to be protected. Securing unstructured information such as contracts, financial releases and customer correspondence is an important next step that should be rolled out on a departmental basis.

Step #2: Perform regular risk assessments
It’s wise for companies to put procedures in place that will help them assess risk and prevent employee theft. Monitoring confidential information across all the major company departments must be a regular occurrence. However, finding the source of a breach may require more in-depth investigation.

Ask the following questions during the risk assessment process:

  • Which employees/staff members have access to this confidential information?
  • How has the confidential information been modified, processed or distributed by them?
  • Is there an area/place where this confidential information could be put at risk?

When companies take the time to analyze how confidential information flows within their company, they can quickly determine which identify vulnerabilities may exist.

Step #3: Create, modify and manage access, usage and distribution policies for confidential information
Upon results from a regular risk assessment, companies can create better, more comprehensive distribution policies for their confidential information. It could be modifications to who can access the confidential information, when it’s accessible (a certain time period), and what type of disciplinary actions will occur for violations of these policies. Once these information distribution policies are defined, it’s essential to also implement monitoring and enforcement of all communication paths.

Step #4: Establish a fail-safe enforcement system
Companies should always implement ways in which they can monitor the handling of confidential information. There should be ways to monitor information usage and traffic, while verifying compliance with distribution policies along the way. Employees and staff should be made aware of the enforcement actions for violation of these policies. Monitoring systems must have flexibility and should be able to accurately identify threats, preventing theft from occurring. These monitoring systems should also contain powerful ID capabilities to stop unauthorized traffic.

It’s clear that although most companies do implement security systems, they often fail to thoroughly review incident reports that arise. It’s also easy to miss theft when you don’t extend security to every communication channel.

Keeping confidential information safe should be a long-term project instead of a one-time event. Ideally, it should demand a lot of attention, requires a way to identify sensitive data; understand and modify current business processes; determine appropriate access, build usage and distribution policies; and monitor all methods of communication. It’s apparent that the high cost of not establishing a system to safeguard your confidential information could be the beginning of the end for your business.

Don’t let theft get the best of your business! Contact IntelliShred today for help with shredding or destroying your confidential data. We’ve been in the business for over two decades and our loyal customers will tell you why they value our services.

Information Security Risks

There are many risks a company could face over its lifespan. The most dangerous risks include an information security breach, corporate identity theft, or the stealing of trade secrets and proprietary data. Managing confidential or sensitive information is necessary for every business to succeed. Identity theft, security breaches and the potential disclosure of proprietary information are all threats that most businesses may not easily overcome.

It’s essential that all businesses, manage the destruction and disposal of documents and digital storage devices in order to avoid facing these risks. Although this could happen to any type or size business, the sectors that are the most at risk for information security issues are: Financial, Healthcare, Educational, and Government.

It’s crucial for every organization to put an information security policy in place. As part of this policy, there should be regular communication sent to your employees to help them follow the confidential information disposal practices you have implemented.

Here are four ways your company can avoid facing information security risks:

  1. Shred and destroy confidential information regularly.
    There’s a variety of confidential and proprietary information that every company must retain. Everything from product prototypes, price lists, and customer data, to client proposals, email lists, research data. If this information is not reviewed regularly and destroyed, your business could face horrible consequences. It’s best to implement a regular business records retention schedule throughout the year so that you may be able to avoid any risk of theft.
  2. Review your business records every quarter.
    It’s best to have a regular review of your business records so that any information that can be disposed of is identified quickly and then shredded and destroyed. Thieves will look for all kinds of documents, and whatever important information they can get their hands on. If sensitive information is not disposed of properly, there is increased risk of liability for your company.
  3. Do not recycle any confidential information.
    Although recycling is an honorable thing, some recycling companies do not properly screen their employees. The environment in which they work is not always monitored effectively, so there is room for theft. Recycled paper customers may not receive their order right away and your sensitive documents could be sitting in a warehouse for weeks or months.
  4. Make sure you hire the best shredding and destruction service.

Choosing a document destruction company can be challenging, but it’s easier if you know what to look for. It’s best to hire a service which provides a certificate of destruction – this gives you peace of mind that your business is in compliance. Be sure to find a certified professional who’s is also accredited by the NAID (National Association for Information Destruction). That way, if an identity theft case ever surfaces, your business will not be held liable.

Hiring a professional shredding service will definitely help you avoid information security risks. If you put a regular shredding/destruction process in place, your business will be protected. IntelliShred has been helping businesses do just that for over two decades. We have been awarded the highest security rating, “AAA Certified” by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). Contact us today to find out more information on how we can assist you.

Business Records Retention Schedule

Cleaning up your office space every quarter is necessary in order to keep confidential information secure. Not only does the process of cleaning up create physical space, it allows your company to purge old paper documents and information storage devices that have been sitting around. These items, if left in piles or in unlocked drawers, can end up being prime targets for identity thieves.

The best way to get rid of confidential information that is no longer relevant is to set up a business records retention schedule. This is a process where every so often (could be monthly, quarterly or annually), the company goes through its records (both paper and digital), to determine what is still necessary to keep on file.

Of course, it can be difficult to decide which or what type of confidential information needs to be shredded or destroyed. There may be certain records which need to be kept for a longer period of time, but it’s important that those items which are no longer relevant be shredded or destroyed.

The records management life cycle begins when information is created and ends when the information is destroyed. The ultimate goal is for organizations to monitor the cycle on a regular basis to determine when they should go through a purge of their files.

Specifically, in the healthcare industry, there are state regulations which apply to the length of time you can keep a patient’s medical records. There are record retention guidelines for the healthcare industry, but they vary by state. When the patient is a minor, the company should retain health information until the patient reaches the age of majority (usually 18), plus the period of the statute of limitations.

There are several reasons why a business records retention schedule is important in the healthcare industry:

  • It’s crucial to ensure the availability of timely, relevant data and information for patient care
  • It’s essential to meet federal, state, and local legal requirements regarding confidential data
  • It’s wise to reduce the risk of legal discovery and identity theft

There is not a standardized business records retention schedule that companies and organizations must follow. There are a variety of retention requirements that must be met, but each company can develop their own customized retention program. Individual states have retention requirements that should be used, so you should refer to your state laws for specific requirements.

Remember, confidential information on hard drives and other electronic media also require shredding and destruction. Thieves are using advanced data retrieval software that can recover deleted information, so simply hitting the delete button won’t work. Shredding or destroying the information storage device takes it to another level so that the data is irretrievable.

Although there are many ways to dispose of important documents and electronics, the most secure and cost-effective method would be to hire local document shredding services. Mobile shredding trucks can come straight to your location and perform the shredding right there on site. It truly is the most secure and cost-effective way to shred.

IntelliShred has led the shredding and destruction industry for 20 years. Our team provides customers with confidential data destruction and information security solutions. We are committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards and practices, and outstanding, personalized service. We’re proud to be members of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) and we have consistently achieved AAA Certification – the highest level of security in the shredding industry.

Contact us today for more information of how we can help keep your information safe and secure.

Commercial Shredding Services

Companies are struggling to protect confidential information from risk of theft. It’s something no company should have to face, but ultimately, it happens to everyone at some point. The best thing to do is to learn what measures you can take to protect your confidential information.

No matter what industry or business you’re in, your company will collect sensitive information from employees, customers and partners. Without focusing on how to protect this information, you may face a significant risk of identity theft or fraud. It’s important to shred any unnecessary business documents, or other media that contain sensitive information.

Even government agencies have experienced intense security breaches and have faced lawsuits for not protecting their confidential information. Not handling your sensitive information properly has its consequences. Large businesses, and corporations should adhere to the strict regulations that are in place today. Breach of privacy regulations like HIPAA, FACTA and GLB can result in a corporation facing heavy fines, or even jail for its corporate officers.

Most organizations believe that economical smaller office shredders are good investments, however, these methods are not efficient, nor are they secure. Small shredders do not completely destroy documents or other forms of data, and are not reliable for the disposal of sensitive information. Because of this, there are some instances where confidential information may end up sitting around in an office somewhere or dumped in a regular trash can.

It’s easier than you think to protect your company from risk. It’s simply a matter of working with third-party commercial shredding services. These types of services provide you with certification of destruction and the peace of mind knowing you’ve lessened your company’s liability for the breach of confidential information. It’s best to choose a partner who is NAID AAA Certified, and has state of the art mobile shredding capabilities as well. Professional shredding and destruction services are an extremely low-cost, convenient solution.

Third-party commercial shredding services can help your business destroy documents or digital files which contain confidential or proprietary information, such as:

  • Bank Account Statements
  • Client Lists
  • Credit Card Information
  • Employee Applications & Other Records
  • Insurance Records
  • Proprietary Information
  • Market Research
  • Accounting Information

There are some businesses that generate larger amounts of paper on a daily basis – for them, commercial shredding services are even more essential. When you find the right vendor for your business you will rest easy knowing you’re risk of identity theft has been significantly reduced.

Whether it’s a one-time shredding service, or a regularly scheduled shred for your business, IntelliShred has the right combination of equipment, tools and staff, capable to meet your product destruction, shredding and disposal needs.

We have over 30 years of experience and are leaders in the industry. Our highly-qualified team can help you adhere to privacy regulations and ensure your sensitive information is secured. We know that your protecting information is crucial to your business. Contact us today for more information on our secure, and reliable commercial shredding services.

Protect Confidential Information

In today’s world, identity theft has become a regular occurrence – and it’s now easier to steal someone’s confidential information, because it exists in other forms, not only on paper. More companies are digitally storing their customer lists, pricing information, proprietary technology, employee information and other assets and they can be compromised if they’re not protected.

With security threats on the rise, it can be challenging to protect confidential information of your employees and customers. Each year, fraud costs businesses over $3 trillion worldwide – you can’t afford to have your company suffer the consequences of losing important information.

The most common risk that businesses may face is when any employee leaves their organization. Because of the former employee’s access to confidential information, it’s difficult to know if they will disclose it to a competitor or have it fall into the wrong hands. Any company should be careful to limit access to protect confidential information for their employees.

Another important way to protect confidential information is to ensure that computer access is monitored. There should be a process put in place which mandates that hard copies of documents are locked up, and that all electronic copies are password protected. Every employee handbook should contain a confidentiality policy that is specific to the business. This policy should have procedures for how to specifically handle every type of confidential information – paper, digital, and online files.

No matter the amount of policies and procedures, identity theft can still occur, even when you’re monitoring your employees to protect confidential information. The easiest way to eliminate your risk of identity theft is to make sure all paper documents and digital storage devices are destroyed instead of being thrown out or recycled. Every company faces this challenge differently, but for the most part, the most efficient and secure way to do this is to hire a third-party professional shredding company.

This option is the best solution for businesses, because it’s the most secure. Typically, a specially trained, uniformed service representative will come to pick up the items which need to be shredded/destroyed. If the service has a mobile truck, then the items will be shredded on site. If not, they will haul your items away to their shredding facility. Afterwards, there is a Certificate of Destruction which proves the shredding/destruction was done properly and that disposal or recycling of specific materials was done in an environmentally-friendly manner

At IntelliShred, we have the right combination of equipment, tools and staff, capable to meet your product destruction, shredding and disposal needs. With over 30 years of experience within the industry, our team can help you maintain compliance with privacy regulations and ensure your confidentiality is secured. Everything will be destroyed in accordance with all federal and state regulations. Our Certificate of Destruction can be used to show compliance with product destruction recall requirements. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you protect confidential information and avoid the risk of identity theft.

What To Shred

Most of us know that we should shred our personal documents. However, you might not know just how easy it is for identity thieves these days, even with strip cutting.

We all have so many documents. It’s all too easy to overlook a certain kind of document that seems innocuous.

This is why, to drive down identity theft, everyone should learn what to shred.

So we’re going to do the public a service and list the top 5 things that everyone should shred religiously.

  1. Your Personal Information

Shred anything with your:

  • account numbers
  • passwords
  • signatures

Destroy monthly bills that contain your:

  • full name
  • address
  • signature
  • account details

The most important things to shred include:

  • bank correspondences
  • expired identity cards
  • expired credit and debit cards
  • tax related documents that are older than 7 years old
  1. Your Social Security Number

Your social security number is as good as gold to identity thieves. This is why you should destroy any unnecessary documents containing your social security number.

What if you notice that there’s a persistent source of documents containing it? In that case, it’s worthwhile to ask the provider if they can withhold your social security number from printed forms as an extra precaution.

  1. Utility And Credit Card Bills

Your bills and account information won’t open as many doors as your social security number will, but a clever thief can still use them against you.

It’s important to remember that any of your financial information can be used against you. This includes your utility bills and credit card bills.

When thinking about what to shred, always remember that this sort of information is useful to thieves. Therefore it should be shredded religiously.

  1. Credit Card Offers

Yes, even those annoying spammy credit card offers you receive in the mail must be taken out right away and shredded promptly.

Why is this necessary you ask?

It’s a sad fact of life that identity theft is most often perpetuated by those who know us well. This includes friends, neighbors, and even family members.

Any of the above people can fill out one of these forms, claim your new credit card and then proceed to destroy your credit rating without your knowledge.

  1. Expired Or Cancelled Credit Cards

It may come as a surprise to some, but thieves actually love finding expired or cancelled credit cards. Why?

Well, oftentimes renewed credit cards have the same account number as the expired or cancelled card. Often times the only difference between the two cards is the expiration date. This makes stealing your new account easy.

Even cancelled credit card accounts provide a way for thieves to gain access to your new account, or to open a new account under your name.

As you can see, the number of ways that identity thieves can use your personal information is scary. The best way to protect your identity is to learn what to shred and then shred religiously. If you have too many things to shred on your own, our mobile paper shredding service can help.