December 23, 2021

Keep or Destroy? Shred-it’s Guide to Confidential Document Management

It is a common situation in millions of offices around the world: documents clogging up filing cabinets, cupboards and desks. Every few months, decluttering can provide a solution, but often the struggle of knowing what to keep or shred is a challenge in itself – what if someone destroys an important document? Or even worse, what if they do not and it falls into the wrong hands?

In the modern workplace, where data thieves know employees are the weakest link in a company’s security armour, it is essential that workforces can counteract this with the knowhow and confidence to handle sensitive documents. But equally as important is the ability to report and navigate a data breach, should the human firewall fail.

Our guide to confidential document management explores some of the documents employees are most likely to encounter in the office, and whether they should be kept or destroyed. Complete with a look at the dangers of in-house shredding and the benefits of a Shred-it All Policy, where removing the burden on employees is nearly always the most efficient and secure solution.

What Documents Should You Keep?

Businesses have a duty to keep confidential client, employee and company data safe. The types of documents that are typically regulated include financial records as well as business contracts and other formal company documents, accounting records, personnel files, purchasing and sales documents, and insurance documents.
Retention periods vary by country and according to the type of document and the related legislation. It is always advisable to check the required retention period on a document-by-document basis, taking into consideration your location and the data regulations you’re governed by.

What Documents Should You Shred?

Given the volume of documents that flow through an office, deciding what to shred can be a challenge. Some common examples include documents that contain a signature, bank statements, pay slips, old photo identification cards, invoices, customer lists and CVs. But once again, this can vary depending on location, data protection regulations and industry (explored in more detail here).

If ever in doubt about what to destroy, we recommend establishing a Shred-it All Policy – where all business documents are placed in a secure, locked console and destroyed once they are no longer needed. By doing so, this removes the need for employees to determine if a document is confidential, which can be time-consuming and confusing, and reduces human error.

Secure In-House Shredding

Once you’ve decided what documents to destroy, it is vital this is done securely. But the conclusion many businesses come to is to do it themselves. On the face of it, there appear to be no down-sides – it seems to be a cheap, easy and effective solution to the problem. However, it is often not long before the unforeseen costs including money, time and security, become all too apparent.

That is because, compared to the cost of outsourcing services, an office shredder can be an unexpected financial drain, with ongoing maintenance, repair and replacement costs. Employees also have to take time from their day-to-day to shred documents – not forgetting the increased risk of a costly data breach that comes from leaving document destruction to untrained employees.

So, why take a chance? Shred-it’s secure document destruction services help you to protect the confidential information of your company, customers and employees. A Certificate of Destruction after every shred proves your data is no longer at risk and your organisation is compliant with the GDPR.

Get in touch today to see how our services can protect your company, customers and employees.