Retaining and storing documents you no longer need can pose a threat to your identity and the privacy of your customers and is an invitation to a serious data breach. Whether it’s your clients’ or your own sensitive information, keeping confidential information secure is essential, as well as being a legal responsibility that comes with hefty financial penalties if you are found non-compliant.
For physical documents, shredding need is the best way to ensure that they’re destroyed correctly. But an off-the-shelf office shredder is not the way to go – they do not provide the level of destruction necessary to fully eliminate potentially sensitive information. A professional shredding service will not only get the job done right but most will also provide you with certification documentation to prove compliance.
Here are nine reasons why shredding sensitive documents should be a top priority for your organization.
- IT’S THE LAW
Confidential waste, such as medical records, salary details or personal address details, legally have to be disposed of correctly under the Data Protection Act. These documents should be shredded before being thrown out to ensure people’s data remains confidential.
- TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT
Identity theft is becoming a common crime with criminals searching through rubbish bins to extract personal information about others. If someone got their hands on an individual’s address details, for example, they would find it much easier to apply for a credit card under their name, or even file a false tax return.
- YOU CAN SAVE TIME
Manually ripping or cutting documents can take a long time, not to mention the threat of paper cuts! Shredding documents is a quick and easy way to dispose of papers which are no longer needed.
- YOUR BUSINESS DATA WILL REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL
Businesses tend to document everything from meeting notes to staff details, future business developments to sales figures. Imagine if these got into the wrong hands? Shredding documents can give companies the peace of mind that people aren’t rifling through their waste paper to find out the future plans of a business.
- YOU CAN AVOID CORPORATE ESPIONAGE
If your business has spent time and money researching a new product or service this information could be highly valuable to a competitor. If a competitor got hold of confidential ideas or future plans they could steal these and develop them themselves. This could result in a financial loss for the company who originally conducted the research.
- YOU CAN SAVE ON STORAGE SPACE
Some companies might have papers and documents which are many years old and no longer needed but they’re not sure how to properly dispose of them. Paper can take up lots of space in an office, sitting on desks or in filing cabinets, so by shredding these, space can be freed up.
- STACKS OF PAPER CAN CREATE A FIRE HAZARD
Having papers stacked around the office can create the perfect fuel to spread a fire. Shredding documents and then recycling them can ensure that companies only keep what’s necessary and remove the fire hazard that excess paper creates.
- TO ENSURE CONSUMER TRUST
If a company shreds confidential documents with details about their customers and clients then they can increase the trust these people have in the company. By shredding documents and making sure clients and customers know this happens, they can be confident that their data is being treated securely and with respect.
- TO KEEP EMPLOYEES HAPPY
Managers and business owners have access to and create confidential documents that directly affect their staff such as performance reviews, insurance data, disciplinary information and salary data. If an employee saw even a rough version of one of these documents about their salary or position in the company then this could cause suspicion and bad feeling to filter through the entire staff. Shredding potentially destructive information will ensure that companies don’t upset their employees unnecessarily.
For more information about secure document shredding contact Datasafe at (508) 587-0900.
(Sources: FORBES.COM, VANGELINC.com, SIGNAL FINANCIAL CREDIT UNION)