The Don’ts of Information Disposal

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Files in Garbage Can

Often when it comes to information disposal, each company is an island, with its own individual methods. And within each company, practices for getting rid of sensitive material may differ from one employee to the next. Monitoring and enforcing how and when information is disposed of is difficult at best, which may account for the growing rate of privacy breaches across Canada. We’ve outlined several ways you may be putting confidential information at risk and offer corrective actions for each.

#1: Don’t do it yourself

Just because you have a shredding machine and use it regularly doesn’t guarantee privacy protection. Consumer-grade shredders don’t destroy documents as completely as industrial-grade shredding equipment which shreds paper to an extremely small particle size, making reconstruction impossible. In an office setting, shredded material is often disposed of in its own bag and tossed in a dumpster. A thief can simply grab the bag and get to work on piecing documents back together; and shredded strips are easily reconstructed. Professional paper shredding uses strict chain of custody processes to eliminate unauthorized access.

#2: Don’t assume your employees are shredding

Even with the best intentions, other things get in the way of paper shredding projects, especially when you consider how much time it takes to hand-feed documents through a shredding machine. In an effort to save time and move on to more important tasks, confidential material may be crumpled up and tossed into a trash can or recycling bin. But disposing of documents and files should be just as easy as throwing them away. Quick and secure document disposal can be achieved through the strategic placement of locked collection containers within your office.

#3: Don’t wait to shred

The longer you put off shredding confidential information, the greater the risk of a privacy breach. Documents containing confidential information may be left on desktops for several days before they are even run through a shredding machine. By that time, several sets of eyes may have read private information—although with even one glance, you could have a privacy breach on your hands. Confidential paperwork should be immediately disposed of when it is no longer needed. A professional shredding service encourages regular disposal of paperwork by incorporating shredding containers, also eliminating wasted time and productivity due to inefficient shredding machines.

#4: Don’t focus on price alone

By hiring the cheapest shredding service, you may be compromising the security of your information without knowing it. Some professional shredding suppliers will try to gain your business with extra low pricing but may not necessarily use processes and personnel that fully protect your information—and your company. Make sure you verify the local reputation of prospective suppliers. Look for NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) AAA Certification, which ensures that shredding facilities, equipment and procedures adhere to the highest industry standards. All shredding technicians should have received extensive screening and training. Lastly, ask for references to ensure quality of service.

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