When disposing of sensitive and confidential information, you can never be too careful. One mistake can cause a handful of bad consequences for your business, including:
- Identity theft
- Business fraud
- Brand damage
- Regulatory non-compliance…
…or all of the above. To help you avoid these consequences, here’s a list of common information destruction mistakes to avoid:
1. Relying on a Paper Shredding Machine
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is buying paper shredders. These office shredders are time consuming to use and often break down. As a result, when an employee needs to destroy a large volume of documents, the temptation to toss everything in trash can is often too great.
That’s why investing in a recurring shredding service is more secure. Locked, bar-coded collection containers are delivered to your office and collected when filled. All collected material is then destroyed with industrial-capacity shredders that render your information unidentifiable and unusable.
2. Ignoring Final Disposition Schedules
Holding on to information indefinitely is an all-too-common mistake. Over-saving documents creates unnecessary storage expenses and increases liability exposure for your business. Final disposition dates should align with your record retention policy and include documents that laws or regulations don’t require you to retain and do not serve an administrative purpose.
3. Recycling before Destroying
Paper recycling benefits the environment, but recycling documents before destroying them increases identity theft and business fraud risks. A secure destruction service eliminates the “either/or” conundrum of shredding versus recycling. After your documents are professionally destroyed, they should be immediately baled and sent to an associate mill for pulping to be re-manufactured into new, high-quality paper products.
4. Forgetting to Destroy Digital Media
Paper isn’t the only medium that contains sensitive data. Hard drives, memory devices and storage media hold a wealth of confidential information. That’s why end-of-life destruction of old and non-functional digital media is so important. Erasing the data from your devices isn’t enough. Even after you press “delete,” a footprint of digital information is left behind. Use a data destruction service to make sure your retired digital assets are destroyed completely and in compliance with state and federal privacy regulations.
5. Failing to Prove Destruction
Failing to show when and how you destroyed documents and data is another big mistake. If a regulator or auditor knocks at your door and you can’t produce a Certificate of Destruction, your business can be fined. A secure shredding partner offers an itemized Certificate of Destruction each time your information is destroyed, so you always have legal proof of the time and date of disposal.
Use the tips we’ve mentioned here to avoid a costly information destruction mistake.
Vangel Secure Data Destruction and Recycling offers paper shredding services for companies in the Greater Baltimore area and throughout Maryland.