Secure Your Summer: How to Choose A Paper Shredding Service to Suit Your Needs

Posted  August 25, 2015  by  Jenny Green

Improve data security with paper shredding services

Returning to work after your summer holiday is a good time to review your current information security controls, and implement changes to any areas which may need improvement. One crucial element of any information security plan is ensuring the secure destruction of any confidential information.

Protecting the confidential information of your stakeholders (whether they are clients, patients or students for example) and employees, is incredibly important. A recent study showed that while overall awareness of the legal requirements concerning confidential data is increasing, 27% of small companies have no protocol in place for storing and disposing of confidential data.  Considering the damaging consequences of a data breach, this is a worrying statistic; last year alone the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) issued over £1.1 million in fines for breaches of the Data Protection Act.

And the implications aren’t just monetary- the damage to reputation caused by an information security breach are serious too. For example, one study found that 93% of companies that suffer data loss for more than 10 days file for bankruptcy within a year, while another study of the retail industry found that 48% of loyal consumers avoid a retailer after a security breach.

There are many shredding companies offering a range of paper shredding services, and it may feel difficult to distinguish between them when searching for a reliable and trustworthy document and data destruction service provider. Here are some tips to help you.

  1. Conducting a Data Security Survey is a good way to assess where security risks could lie in your office and get recommendations for a document shredding solution to reduce these risks. A professional shredding company will be able to help you carry out this audit and work with your business to develop a bespoke, cost-effective solution for your sensitive information.
  2. Having a regularly scheduled service offers day-to-day protection and benefits for your organisation. It’s also convenient. In-house shredding using a conventional strip-cut shredder, for example, is incredibly time and resource consuming. Even worse, this type of shredding can leave important information visible or open to reconstruction after shredding, which puts your company at a greater risk of a security breach. A reputable data destruction service uses multi-edge cross-cut shredding technology so that information cannot be reproduced or recreated. Unlike strip shreds, cross-cut confetti-sized pieces cannot be reconstructed, ensuring total destruction of your confidential documents.
  3. Avoiding human error is also an issue with in-house shredding as your employees have to make judgement calls as to what is or isn’t confidential. Research shows that 50% of the worst data breaches are caused by inadvertent human error. Using a dedicated service provider enables your employees to be more productive too; it has been estimated that it takes an employee five hours on average to shred 23kg worth of documents, compared to just under a minute taken by a professional shredding organisation to shred the same amount.

Having a dedicated document shredding partner gives you peace of mind as documents are only ever handled by security-vetted staff and there is a secure chain of custody from collection to the time they are destroyed. Whether your business decides to have on site or off site shredding and data destruction, you will receive a Certificate of Destruction as proof of your compliance with data protection best practices.  Shred-it has even more tips for choosing an information destruction provider in our free online Resource Centre.

Want to keep up to date with news in the information security industry? Follow @Shredit_UK on Twitter.  Or to discover potential security risks in your business today, book your free Data Security Survey.

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