In the past few years, security breaches led to the compromising of nearly 4 billion confidential records. This information came from businesses, federal agencies, and even private homes. Storing sensitive information may seem the obvious choice to prevent security breaches. But there is another way, and it lies in data shredding services.
You might not think you need data shredding, but the consequences of letting all of that confidential information pile-up could be detrimental. Even if you don’t believe shredding data applies to your life, you should still educate yourself about these services.
So, what is secure shredding? Below, we answer all of your questions about secure shredding and why it is a great way to ensure your classified or sensitive business documents remain safe.
What Is Secure Shredding?
Secure shredding isn’t just making a run to your home or office shredder. This type of document destruction is on another level. When securely shredding private information, you want to make sure that the pieces are illegible.
When hiring a shredding service, you ensure the disposal of all private documents and information. Most self-service shredders cannot reduce the material to small enough ribbons to ensure security. Professional services are well equipped to shred your confidential information into extra small pieces, making it impossible to piece them back together.
The disposal process should include on-site disposal, where you get to watch the shredding happen. They will also provide secure containers so no one can break in and recover the information.
Why Invest In Secure Shredding?
You may wonder why you should consider paying an office shredding service to come out and destroy your files, e-files, and other documents. Fact is, it couldn’t hurt to add an extra layer of protection in regards to your data. Along with security, these services also provide other benefits such as de-cluttering your office, saving time, and abiding by the law.
Protects Your Clients
Whether you run a medical practice or are a real estate agent, the customer’s privacy should always be the main priority. Sometimes, people assume their business is not subject to a breach in data.
These businesses may not see the need to hire a secure shredding service for their documents. But all client info, even if it is just their name, needs to remain confidential. Immediately shredding documents, billing information, and anything else personal to your client or patient will ensure safety.
Protects Your Employees
Breaches in data come with weighty consequences. These consequences could pertain to you or an employee who did not follow protocol.
Your workers have privacy rights. Therefore, it is your job to discard their personal information securely. Now, if an employee leaks information, the repercussions will fall both on you and on them. A client or patient whose private details are public is liable to sue your company. This can cost you thousands of dollars in fines. While the employee who is accountable for the mishap could be looking at a jail sentence.
You should pay attention to where you store checks, payroll information, direct deposit information, or anything else regarding employees and clients. A secure shredding service would protect you both by expertly destroying your documents.
Abides By The Law
There are several laws with regards to shredding private data. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) states that when a company finishes with a client, that company should dispose of the info.
You must shred documents until they are no longer legible. When we throw out the trash, it becomes public property. That means anyone can rummage through a business’s dumpster to find documents with credit card numbers or addresses written on them.
It is not enough to merely shred these documents yourself, either. Most companies use a standard shredder that you can buy anywhere. These shredders cut the paper into ribbons, but that isn’t illegible enough. Someone could still piece that document back together to recover it.
That’s where a shredding service comes in to help. These services use shredders that cut papers and other media (CDs, floppy discs, etc.) into small pieces. The method they use is cross-cutting. The shredding machines will cut your data into pieces measuring 1 millimeter by 12 millimeters.
If you have confidential federal data, you can even have a shredder cut it up into pieces that are less than 1 millimeter by 5 millimeters. The smaller the pieces, the fewer chances of breaking security laws and shredding laws.
While it doesn’t have anything to do with protecting security, clutter is still a concern. You can hire shredding companies to come out a few times a month and clear out the files you have lying around your office. Afterward, you will have a more organized workspace for you and your employees.
Sitting around shredding every document you have will take up a good chunk of your time. Chances are you will only have access to a regular office shredder. That means you can only shred a few items at once.
A secure shredding service solves both of those problems at once. Their machines are capable of disposing of large bundles of papers at a time. Therefore, what would take you days will only take a few minutes with a service.
Who Needs Secure Shredding?
Everyone should consider secure shredding. The process may be most important to small businesses and medical practices that allow access to personal health information.
Businesses that need secure shredding include the following:
- Medical practices
- Federal agencies
- Mail carriers or shipping services
- Any business selling products
Note that this list is in no way comprehensive. Even if you are an individual or private residence, you should look into securely shredding your documents. Even junk mail can lead to matters like identity theft if it falls into the wrong hands.
What Should You Shred?
If you aren’t sure whether to securely shred a document, it is better to be safe than sorry. If someone steals or leaks information from you, the repercussions could be devastating.
Items that need secure shredding include the following:
- Tax information
- Patient health information
- Lists of customers/customer information
- Credit card/billing information
- Payroll information
- Federal documents with confidential information
- Mail with addresses on it (such as junk mail)
- Pay stubs
- Voided checks
- Photo IDs
- Airline tickets
- Birth certificates
While it may not seem likely to you that someone would use your information, it can still happen. Some people like to mark out data with a marker or cut it up with scissors.
Unfortunately, when it comes to documents detailing pertinent information such as a social security number, those strategies won’t be enough. Hiring secure shredding companies will always be the best method.
Hire a Shredding Service
At IntelliShred, we want you to have sound peace of mind when it comes to disposing of your data. Our services include data and e-file destruction and are professional in every way possible so that you aren’t left wondering about your level of data security. IntelliShred disposes of everything on-site. That way, your sensitive files never leave the premise. After the process is over, we will give you a Certificate of Destruction.
We hoped that we answered everything surrounding the question “What is secure shredding?” If you need shredding services, we urge you to contact us and get a free quote from us today.