Information security is a bigger concern than ever, both with paper documents and electronic files. Corporate espionage, hacking, identify theft, and other crimes are carried out through the medium of digital and physical paper documents, such as financial reports and personnel files. In the wrong hands, this information can spell disaster for any big or small business or private individual. Identity theft is particularly common in the United States: in 2016, one out of every 16 American adults was the victim of this crime, and incidents of identity theft climbed 16% from 2015 to 2016, and may continue to grow from there. It is a big business, with $50 billion a year made from this crime, and corporate identity theft costs businesses $48 per year. It is clear, then, that good security is needed to prevent this devastating crime from ruining someone’s personal finances or those of a whole company, and on site document shredding, or to purge documents, is a solid solution.
The Cost of Paper
Despite the growth of digital media, such as e-mail, cloud services, and the Internet and various intranet services, paper continues to be a major medium for carrying information, and if handled improperly, this can be a liability. One in five data breaches that the BakerHostetler law firm handled in 2014 involved paper records, according to their 2015 Data Security Incident Response Report. Similarly, almost 90% of identity theft cases involved information stolen from paper sources instead of those found on the Internet. For these reasons and more, on site document shredding is more relevant than ever, and shredding services are available for large quantities of papers that must be handled carefully, and for smaller cases, on site shredding can be handled internally, or even personally.
On Site Document Shredding Basics
To purge documents with sensitive data, shredding the papers into useless scraps is the main route to take, especially since burning them can present a serious fire hazard, and may violate local laws. According to Signal Financial, there are many reasons for shredding services to be deployed. For one thing, law mandates that certain types of documents be destroyed in any case, so a business must do this as a matter of course. Medical records and personal address information are two types of data that must be purged this way. On site document shredding goes beyond that, however. Businesses record much more information, such as financial reports, meeting notes, and future plans and projects on paper, and this is a ripe opportunity for a competitor to steal these documents from waste bins and Dumpsters and cause great harm to the company that failed to shred its paperwork. Even customers and clients will be happy about on site document shredding, since this ensures the privacy of the customers’ and clients’ data. A business can let its partners and customers know that it practices document purging, and earn even more trust with them.
There are also in-house motivations to shred paper. For one thing, businesses are often pressured to recycle more as a part of green initiatives, and shredded paper is easier to contain and transport to recycling services. What is more, a company’s building could have years’ worth of old documents taking up storage boxes and filing cabinets, and this is a lot of room being occupied by unneeded old papers. Papers that contain sensitive information ought to be destroyed at once, while essential papers can be scanned and filed digitally, then the paper itself shredded. Also, having all that leftover paper sitting around is a potential fire hazard, especially in proximity to damaged electrical cords. Shredding paper and getting it out of the building lowers the risk of a fire. Finally, employees will have peace of mind knowing that their sensitive information has been shredded and put out of reach of identity thieves and corporate spies.