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Top 5 Mistakes Companies Make With Handling Confidential Information

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.

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.

Prevent Employee Theft

In this volatile work environment, employee theft can cost companies and organizations millions of dollars. The hiring process is challenging, but even when good talent is discovered, companies could still find themselves at an extremely high risk if they don’t put proper protections in place.

Aside from the financial impact, there are other ways in which fraud or theft can damage your business. It could create a negative brand image in the minds of your customers, it could foster a lack of trust in your brand, and a loss of confidence from your investors. Employee theft can make your business lose its integrity and may keep other high-quality talent from considering your company as the ideal workplace.

In data from a recent study by Hiscox, a global specialist insurer, companies that were affected by employee theft lost an average of $1.13 million in 2016. Of all the specific cases studied, funds theft was the most common and represented over one-third of all cases. Of all the industry sectors that were studied, financial services firms had the highest total losses – more than $120 million.

Employee theft is always threat to any organization, regardless of its size or industry. It’s not always easy to detect employee theft, but according to the study, the cases that occurred were most often where an employee repeatedly diverted small sums of money over time. About one-quarter of the time, the employee theft was taking place for a time period longer than five years.

Companies spend large amounts of money on protecting their data – and it’s definitely a worthy investment. Monitoring computer networks, confidential and proprietary data and trade secrets is essential and a priority to safeguard. However, often times, hardcopy information, sensitive documents and other paper items are not properly protected, and even neglected. It’s crucial that every business keeps tabs on confidential data, regardless of the format it is kept in. Why shred documents? Paper documents can easily end up in the wrong hands and ultimately ruin your business, if not properly shredded and destroyed.

A professional shredding service can handle a significant volume of paper in a safe, secure manner and your important files can be eliminated without the need for removing staples, paper clips, rubber bands, etc. They provide your business with a certified destruction process that involves security cameras, monitors and other specialized equipment.

Whatever volume of shredded material your business generates, an experienced professional shredding service will set a schedule to collect and shred it onsite at your premises. Documents should be shredded in accordance with NAID AAA standards and a Certificate of Destruction will verify the process has been completed correctly.

There’s a way to prevent employee theft – call IntelliShred! We have had years of success with handling professional shredding for a variety of businesses. We are able to provide you with efficient and secure shredding services for paper and even digital media storage devices. Contact us today for answers to all of your shredding questions.

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.

Workplace Identity Theft

In today’s business landscape, the risk of workplace identity theft is high. The damage that can come from identity theft could not only affect your company’s bottom line, but ultimately, its reputation as well. Most employers think they’re immune because they’ve got special security measures in place. However, identity thieves seem to always be one step ahead, so it’s crucial that your business is doing everything possible to avoid workplace identity theft.

There is a significant amount of damage that could be caused by workplace identity theft. Everything from bad press and a negative brand image, to a severe lack of trust from your customers. It’s expensive and quite difficult to bounce back from the issues surrounding the theft of confidential information. Businesses which store any kind of confidential, sensitive or personal information, could also be held liable if it is stolen.

Business owners have no problem protecting their digital records with encrypted software and password protection, but hackers can still break through to steal confidential information. Even if a company uses firewalls, spyware and other tools to maintain the security of their computers and media storage devices, they are still at risk. Safeguarding their computers will help, but what about their hard copy information? Sensitive documents must still be used in certain industries, so that brings an increased risk if they are not disposed of properly.

If those paper documents accumulate and aren’t regularly shredded or destroyed, your company’s confidential information could easily fall into the wrong hands. Even your own employees may end up being the worst identity thieves. It’s necessary to protect all forms of confidential information from workplace identity theft – digital, hard copy.

You could say that office shredders are somewhat effective, but it’s not productive for your employees to spend the amount of time it takes to handle large volumes of paper. Most regular shredders can only take in a few sheets at a time, so that makes for a pretty inefficient process.

By hiring a professional shredding company, you will rest easy knowing your important files will be collected directly from your shred collection container and shredded securely. It’s clear that destroying documents and digital storage devices should be a regular part of your company’s operations. Make sure you find the most reputable professional shredding and destruction service. They will ensure your items are shredded and destroyed according to the federal guidelines, and they will provide a certificate of destruction to guarantee the shred was executed securely.

An experienced professional shredding service will set a schedule to collect and shred it onsite at your premises. Documents should be shredded in accordance with NAID AAA standards and a Certificate of Destruction will verify the process has been completed correctly.

IntelliShred has been successfully servicing its customers for over two decades. We are able to provide you with efficient and secure shredding services that can be timed to fit your busy schedule. Contact us today to get answers to all of your shredding questions.

Sensitive Documents

Financial institutions, law firms and medical practices are usually the top three types of businesses people tend to think of when it comes to protecting confidential information. Actually, every business, no matter the industry or size, faces the risk of their sensitive documents being stolen.

It’s possible to steal confidential information if there is a ton of paper is lying around your office space. What’s even worse is if those sensitive documents somehow go un-shredded into a garbage can. It’s essential for businesses today to be mindful of how they manage their paper records. If they don’t want their sensitive documents to get into the wrong hands, it’s important they shred or destroy it.

Just about any form of documentation that contains a person’s name, phone number, email, or address on it is ideal for thieves to steal. Not only that, but trade secrets, proprietary research, financial records and other crucial data could easily be stolen – even by an employee.

More than 9 million Americans have their identities stolen every year, totaling losses of $53 billion annually to businesses and financial institutions, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Conducting a security audit and developing a comprehensive security plan. The audit should examine the facility’s vulnerabilities, looking for ways to maximize safety and security, and minimize risks. Most security companies will conduct this type of audit at no cost.” With the information from your security audit, you can reinforce or add security elements to aspects of your building that might be at risk.

These are two important ways you can help protect your company’s sensitive documents and prevent the high risk of theft:

  1. Hire the Right People
    This is a crucial first step to preventing identity theft – hiring people who have morals and won’t steal. Performing background checks are only half of the equation, the other half is to call into question what they would do in certain situations if they’re hired. Criminals are aware of which organizations perform background checks, and they usually steer clear of them.

 

  1. Have a Highly-Organized Office Space
    Everyone tries to maintain their office by hiring a professional cleaning staff, but cleanliness is not as important as organization of paper documents. You can save your organization from identity theft and eliminate clutter by shredding sensitive documents weekly or monthly. Organization also helps your company’s productivity – if the office is organized, then employees will have an easier time finding files and documents and it will be harder to steal files if they are neatly put away.

 

  1. Implement a Shredding & Destruction Process
    Without a secure shredding and destruction process in place, you are not only putting your business and employees at risk —your customers will be at risk, too. Holding onto any confidential information like credit card numbers, bank accounts, and addresses makes those customers vulnerable to identity theft. Your organization could face severe penalties under the law for mishandling sensitive customer information. Hire a professional shredding service that will handle it for you – it’s the most secure and cost-effective way to dispose of sensitive documents.

Most professional shredding companies will help you create a plan for shredding and destruction. With mobile shredding capabilities, IntelliShred will monitor the process to ensure your sensitive documents are securely destroyed. We offer on-site and/or off site shredding as well as emergency shredding services. Our years of expertise help us renew with our customers because we’re able to successfully help companies protect their private information. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business.

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.

Identity Theft At Work

Many people equate the shredding process only with the destruction of business documents, hard copy credit card statements and other important papers. However, in order prevent information data breaches, it’s absolutely necessary to shred and destroy digital storage devices as well, to have more layers of protection.

Today’s business information is mostly stored digitally, but do not assume that it can be kept safe with just a password. It’s best to make sure your company is utilizing firewalls, spyware and other tools to maintain the security of their computers and media storage devices.

Identity thieves have continued to successfully de-fraud corporations, organizations and individuals. Some of the most secure companies have been breached, even the U.S. Government. Businesses which store any kind of confidential, sensitive or personal information, could be held liable if it is stolen.

To combat against identity theft at work, companies should integrate the following three steps:

Shred Regularly

It’s essential for companies to make shredding and destruction part of their normal business operations. The more often shredding takes place, the less risk of important information getting into the wrong hands. If proprietary research, trade secrets, customer information, and other information is stolen, your business could suffer a significant financial loss or a damaged reputation.

Computer Recycling

Most people don’t know this, but some of the basic components in older computers can be reused. Whether it’s the keyboard, the housing or the monitor, all those pieces of plastic, metal and glass can definitely be recycled. Computers also contain certain toxic materials, like lead and cadmium, which should not be thrown away in the garbage and sent to the landfill. Most computer recycling centers have drop-off stations where you can bring your computers to be recycled.

Choose the Right Shredding & Destruction Service

Destroying documents and other storage devices should be a part of every company’s operations. For confidential or sensitive information, shredding may not be adequate. There are professional business shredding services that will adhere to the necessary federal guidelines to make sure your business is compliant. Make sure to choose an accredited service which provides a certificate of destruction to guarantee the process was executed securely.

Shredding and destruction of documents and information storage devices is essential to protect confidential information. Not only does it keep identity thieves away, it reduces the size of the waste, allowing for greater ease of transportation and recycling or disposal.

In order to avoid identity theft at work, hire a shredding and destruction service. Using a mobile shredding paper service will help protect your clients and staff from identity theft. This is the safest and most effective way to avoid security risks. Because of the large number of instances of identity theft at work, it’s wise to put safeguards in place for your business.

IntelliShred is a professional shredding and destruction service which has been awarded the highest security rating, “AAA Certified” by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). Contact us today to learn more about our 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.

Professional Shredding Company

In today’s corporate environment, there’s been an overwhelming increase in identity theft from businesses – and it has continued to be huge liability issue. Your company’s confidential documents are always at risk, no matter if they’re stored in file cabinets or on digital media devices. It’s always possible for employees, clients or other outside vendors to gain access to that information and exploit it.

The only way to combat this risk and protect your company’s confidential information, is to hire a professional shredding company. There are several credible services out there, but it’s important to consider several factors when you search for a reputable shredding company.

There are special certifications that shredding companies should have under their belt. The one with the highest level of accreditation is the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). The NAID has the highest level of professional security standards for the industry. The professional shredding company you hire should be a NAID certified shredding company, and must follow their code of ethics and any other industry requirements.

The next important factor in your selection process should be the level of security this professional shredding company has. Document destruction companies should carefully select their employees and provide you with proof of their background checks. You must inquire about their shredding process and ask for a step by step description of how it works, even down to the type of containers they use for transporting documents prior to shredding. If your company deals with medical information, it’s crucial that you hire a document shredding company that’s in compliance with current HIPAA requirements.

A professional shredding company is equipped to handle the destruction of tons of classified and confidential documents for businesses on-site. When you select a shredding service, make sure they guarantee your documents will be destroyed on-site.

There are other companies that only do off-site shredding – they physically remove your documents from your business and then transports them to their shredding facility. With this type of service, you run the risk of your documents being misplaced, lost, or falling into the wrong hands. It’s much wiser to hire a shredding company that provides on-site shredding and emergency shredding services.

Corporate shredding services must have state of the art shredding equipment available to you. They should handle way more than just paper shredding – they should have the ability to destroy discs of all formats, media components and other devices. As you search for the perfect shredding company, be sure to look for one that provides full-service.

IntelliShred has been a shredding industry leader since 1999. We have pride in our confidential data destruction and the other information security solutions that we offer. 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.

As an experienced, professional shredding company can help your business block the risk of identity theft. We have the latest in shredding equipment and the capacity to recycle paper, floppy drives, CD’s and DVD’s, Video Cassettes, Microfilm, Microfiche and much more. Contact us today and let us help you keep your confidential information safe from harm’s way.