4 Top Document Disposal Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to information security, companies make errors all the time. Improper, even negligent disposal of confidential workplace documents happens often in both big and small organizations. Here are four top document disposal mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: Using a Paper Shredder

Paper shredding machines are costly and time-consuming. You must remove staples and paperclips from your files, separate them into small portions, hand feed them into the shredder, empty the shredding receptacle, and then dump the bag of shredded paper in the trash. Your time and information are too valuable to make the mistake of using a shredding machine.

Moreover, the loose shredded paper should not be deposited into recycling containers at work or at home. It wraps around the equipment necessitating costly downtime while the shreds are removed. Check to see if your recycling program will accept it if it is bagged and set with, not in, the recycling container.

A paper shredding service helps you right the ship by offering a turnkey document destruction solution. Locked collection containers are brought to your business. Depositing your documents into one of them is as easy as 1-2-3, and on a scheduled basis, the contents are collected for destruction with industrial shredders.

Mistake 2: Not Following Information Destruction Laws

State and federal laws govern the disposal and destruction of personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI). They include:

  • The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
  • The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
  • Maryland Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA)

Failure to dispose of your documents in compliance with these laws can result in fines and penalties. A secure shredding service ensures your document disposal practices meet the requirements of state and federal privacy regulations.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Final Disposition Schedules

Don’t make the mistake of holding on to your documents too long. Keeping confidential records longer than necessary increases privacy breach risks and wastes office space. Another concern from a legal point of view is that, by retaining documents past their “expiration date,” they are subject to potential legal and regulatory requests. In other words, if you still have the records, you must hand them over. However, if you no longer have them and can demonstrate that you got rid of them using a consistent and documented process, you should be protected. Following record retention guidelines and using a data destruction professional on a regularly-scheduled basis demonstrates a good faith, “defensible disposition” in legal proceedings.

Mistake 4: Choosing and Global Document Destruction Provider

There are many companies willing to shred your documents, but not all are equal. To global document shredding companies, you are an account number with a one-size-fits-all shredding plan and only a call center to reach out to when you need help. Conversely, local, independently shredding providers take time to understand your business, tailor a shredding solution to your document disposal needs, and when you need help, you actually talk to your local provider. A locally-owned shredding company can offer unparalleled value, dependability, and customer care.

Vangel Secure Data Destruction and Recycling offers paper shredding services to companies in the Greater Baltimore area and throughout Maryland. For more document disposal tips, please call us at 410-644-2600 or complete the form on this page.