All businesses have paper documents that cover the gamut from proprietary company information to client or patient data. There are laws that dictate how long these documents must be retained and length of time depends on the type of business. This topic is especially concerning when it comes to those in the healthcare industry as it adds additional HIPAA requirements into the mix. Once the duration of time for maintaining the security of these documents have passed, proper destruction through shredding is a method that ensures that the data and information doesn’t fall into the hands for improper use.
Proper shredding once involved single strip-cutting, but has now been replaced with cross-cut and micro-cut for the highest level of security. Single strip cutting still allows large pieces that could be accessed and placed together to reassemble a document. Cross-cut reduces a document to small pieces and micro-cut shreds the paper to the tiniest of particles.
While electronic breaches may make the headlines, there are still many companies that experience theft of paper documents that aren’t properly destroyed. The most common situations of theft include using name, address, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and email addresses for full-on identity theft. This kind of theft can involve company staff as well as that of clients and patients. “According to the Center for Victim Research, 7-10% of the U.S. population are victims of identity fraud each year, and 21% of those experience multiple incidents of identity fraud.”
Today, the most acceptable method of document shredding used by those companies that are professionals at shredding involves the cross-cut, which reduces the paper to small pieces and the micro-cut which reduces paper to extremely tiny pieces.
Private company data can be used to sell to competitors and client data can be sold on the dark web. Each of these situations can not only wreak havoc on a business, it can also completely destroy a company. Documents can often include contracts, partnerships, pricing, product launches, and a variety of information that may be electronically safe through encryption, but is there for the world to see in print form.
The reputation of a business is both intangible and invaluable, and both clients and company staff rely on trusting a business that their private and personal information will be securely held in safety. Most companies place documents in locked locations with access via authorized personnel only. The continuation of this trust extends to ensuring that all documents will be appropriately destroyed and shredded at the correct time, and will never simply be placed in a trash bin and/or landfill for anyone to access.
The storage of any large quantity of paper presents a fire hazard for any business. When a building is inspected these locations have to be identified as potentially dangerous, with special attention to possible additional fire safety factors. Reducing these documents through shredding not only helps to reduce the fire hazard but may also help to eliminate added insurance costs and special fire equipment.
A majority of companies are involved in recycling and shredding paper documents makes it a lot easier to accommodate recycling and reduces the carbon footprint for a business.
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