Is Your Information Disposal Process Watertight?

Posted  September 25, 2017  by  Jenny Green

Everyone knows that ‘information is power’... but confidential information is also a huge security risk if it gets into the wrong hands.

To keep the workplace secure, experts recommend outsourcing paper shredding services and other confidential information destruction.

While statistics show that office workers still use over 10,000 sheets of paper every year, that doesn't even account for the thousands of digitised documents on their computer hard drives. It’s critical that companies secure confidential information in both forms - and from creation to disposal.

While in-house shredding is an option, companies in an earlier Ponemon study claim it’s more efficient to hire an outside company to conduct the shredding process. Office shredders are typically strip shredders, and strips can be reassembled. The shredding task itself is time-consuming – staples and clips must be removed before paper is fed into the machine by hand. In-house document shredding cost must also include the potential increase in internal fraud risk. According to a 2015 study from Intel Security, employees accounted for 43% of data loss, half of which was accidental.

Here’s how to assess whether a commercial shredding services company is trustworthy and reliable:

  • Experience: The company has a long track record in local and secure data shredding solutions.
  • Equipment: Industrial-grade cross-cut shredding technology turns paper into confetti-like pieces, and can accommodate specialised shred size requirements.  
  • Chain of custody: There is a clear chain of custody. Locked consoles in a variety of styles and sizes are provided for the collection and protection of documents that need to be shredded. Security-trained professionals remove documents for secure shredding.
  • Tailored service: Services are geared to every organisation’s unique needs and complexities. Options include on- or off-site shredding, and flexible scheduling for convenience and practicality.
  • Compliance: The company stays up-to-date with privacy laws and regulation changes in industry sectors. It also assists with compliance requirements.  Almost half of the respondents in the Ponemon study outsourced document shredding because it offered peace of mind that they were in compliance with privacy regulations.
  • Digital disposal: There are hard drive and e-media shredding service options. "Securely disposing of digital information is just as important as paper documents,” said Information Security Forum (ISF) managing director Steve Durbin in a CIO.com article. Anything that contains data – electronic media, obsolete hard drives, mobile equipment – must be protected.  
  • Support services: Secure information handling is a priority, and complements a comprehensive information management strategy. This includes a Shred-it all Policy so that all documents are securely shredded when no longer needed. Rather than just making people aware of their information security responsibilities and how they should respond, said Durbin, the answer is to embed positive information security behaviours that will cause employees to develop ‘stop and think’ behaviour and habits.
  • Green practices: After materials are shredded, the shredded paper is 100% recycled.  
  • Proof of shredding: The document shredding service provider issues a Certificate of Shredding after every shred. This is a permanent record for official requirements. There is no official record with an in-house office shredder.

To better protect your organisation, implement a secure document management policy with this free guide.

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To learn more about how Shred-it can protect your documents and hard drives, please contact us to get a free quote and data security survey.  


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