Stop the Hoarding: Jump-Start Your Secure Shredding Program

Topics: Secure Shredding

Are stacks of dead files cropping up a little too much lately? Consider teaming with a trusted partner to build a secure and compliant document destruction program that can also help you regain valuable workspace.

SHREDDING ON PARADE: When New York saluted its Super Bowl XLVI Champion Giants® with a ticker tape parade earlier this year, the city supplied revelers with locally sourced, shredded and recycled newsprint to throw into the Canyon of Heroes. But despite that security-wise move, some geniuses tossed whole sheets of paper out their office windows. Among the findings: Social Security numbers, payroll statements and the details of 54-year-old woman’s mammogram. Um, shredding program, anyone?

Most every business starts out with an earnest filing and document shredding plan and the best of intentions. “No file left behind,” you say. And it works…for a while. But soon, new business prospects arise and take rightful priority: You’re growing, and that’s a great thing. Soon that larger book of business also means larger stacks of unprocessed contracts, purchase orders and the like. It’s a happy consequence of your success.

If this sounds like your firm, you’re not alone. A View Into Unified Records Management: The Iron Mountain 2012 Compliance Benchmark Report revealed that 100 percent of survey respondents use shredding to some degree. However, only 40 percent have a formal policy or process for following it.

Why It’s Smart to Shred

It’s easy to understand why you might underestimate the value of discarded records. After all, who’s really interested in a five-year-old contract with a now-defunct business partner? However, those documents may contain pieces of information of great value to identity thieves and hackers.

As incidents of identity theft in particular continue to increase, the federal and state laws created to fight such crimes are getting tougher. Risks of noncompliance with federal and state information-management regulations include:

  • Heavy fines
  • Expensive litigation and lawsuits
  • Court-imposed sanctions
  • Criminal penalties
  • Damage to your brand, reputation or image

When you work with a trusted partner to develop a compliant shredding program, you ensure that your document destruction best practices satisfy federal, state and industry regulations. Choose from either onsite secure shredding, in which the service comes to you, or offsite secure shredding, in which your employees deposit old paperwork in locked bins; these are carted away and destroyed at your partner’s secure facility.

FAST FACT: Georgia has one of the most aggressive shredding regulations in the country. It levies fines of $500 to $10,000 for failure to dispose of sensitive records by shredding, erasing or rendering them unreadable.

DID YOU KNOW? Standards for information security are set by an organization called the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID®), which makes recommendations for operational workflow and security. Choose a document destruction company that has received NAID’s AAA rating.

Search and Destroy: Getting Your Shred On

Consider these steps for kicking off a compliant program:

  1. Identify your important records. Your first task is to determine the value of each record in your archives and its ultimate lifespan. Should it stay or should it go?
  2. Develop a data destruction policy, then share it with your staff. Employees who master proper data handling best practices are more likely to protect vital information and dispose of what’s no longer needed.  
  3. Create a schedule—and stick with it. Once you get started with secure shredding, you’ll develop a rhythm for the destruction of old documents. Keep to that beat.
  4. Establish a strong partnership. By joining forces with an experienced, reliable records-management and data destruction vendor, you’ll be able to leave the worrying to someone else and focus on your core business mission.

Iron Mountain Suggests: A Secure Shredding Approach

With Iron Mountain Secure Shredding services, you’ll be able to safely and cost-effectively destroy your unnecessary paper-based documents while taking care of your information privacy challenges, such as:

  • Maintaining a consistent, auditable chain of custody from pickup to destruction
  • Staying compliant in the ever-changing regulatory climate
  • Retaining complete visibility of your shredding, so you keep control over your program, services and costs

The ultimate result? Lower risk, peace of mind and a more environmentally friendly approach to document management.

Do It the Cost-Effective Way…

As part of establishing your shredding program, you’ll of course need to establish costs. Start by working with your partner firm to determine the number of bins it will place at your locations, and how frequently they’ll be retrieved for processing. Once you know your costs per container, you can fine-tune your program for maximum cost-effectiveness.

…and With an Eye on the Environment

The best vendors integrate recycling into their shredding program, so you can protect the planet while protecting your business. In fact, your shredding partner should be able to give you reports that demonstrate your commitment to a greener environment. Share them with your customers to generate some goodwill.

With a little help and organization, you can implement a great document destruction program—one that will free up office space, protect sensitive data and do wonders for the credibility of your growing business.

Shredding as an Employee Perk

Why not let your employees add their own personal paperwork to the shredding pile? They face the same shredding issues at home that you do at the office. Access to free, secure shredding is a low-cost perk that will make every employee’s life a little easier.

Do you have questions about what Iron Mountain can do for your small business? Read additional Knowledge Center Small Business resources, or contact Iron Mountain’s Small Business team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services Small Business specialist who can address your specific challenges.

Related Content:

Is Your Records Management Program on the Money?

Are Your Vital Records Insured Against Risks and Inefficiency?

Caution! Detour Ahead: Steer Your Firm Away From Risky Storage Moves