Tech Target recently wrote an article on what to do with backup tapes that are no longer needed. They suggested shredding them instead of selling them into a secondary market. The reason is that it is easy to find data on recycled tapes. For a backup tape it could be anything for marketing material to your customers personal information.
f your company is sitting on boxes of tapes or just a couple then a hard drive shredding service can help. They will make your tapes little bits, not just erased.
Creative Financial Services of Tampa Bay Inc is the just the latest mortgage broker to dump their customers’ personal information in a dumpster. They filled up the dumpster behind Hair Visions Salon where the records were discovered and reported to the news and police. The news went to the offices of Creative Financial Services and found a second dumpster full of mortgage files. They must have filled their own dumpster and then started dumping all over the city. There may be more that were not reported to the authorities.
While there are many situations where being “creative” is good; document security is not one of them. There is no substitute to a paper shredding service turning all of your private information into tiny bits and then pulping it.
FirstMerit Bank has some questionable security standards for their shredding. They store material waiting to be shredded in bins outside of their branches. The weakness became apparent when three bins were stolen. It is unclear what information was in the bins.
Please store paper in a secure area before it is shredded. If you don’t have enough space you should consider more frequent pickups. What every business needs is a chain of custody from document birth until destruction. [news report]
Skilled Services moved from their Palm Springs offices but apparently was too busy to worry about their clients. They left boxes of private information in the dumpster. Included in the documents were copies of licenses and social security numbers. Everything an identity thief needs in one place.
The documents were discovered by local businesses and reported to the police and the news.
Moving is much more expensive when you add in the cost of a lawyer to defend your company for violating FACTA.
Most organizations fail to shred everything that the law and good practice require because they don’t have a document shredding program. The standard practice for many is to leave the shredding to the discretion of a low level employee. The result is much of what needs to be shredded is sent out with the trash. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time then you know that boxes of files are magnets for everyone walking by.
The latest example is Flagler County. Instead of shredding they left boxes of sensitive information in the trash. When exposed by the local news they said it was only one box. However, the reporter found more sensitive information after they said the problem was solved.
The incremental cost to shred a box with a shredding service is only a couple of bucks. Why would any organization risk their customers, suppliers and reputation for so small a price?
Lynn Narcisse of Arlington likes to survey his neighborhood every evening. He is glad he did this week when he found piles of folders of personal information in the dumpster behind the sales office for K. Hovnanian Homes. The folders had the buyers personal information from another development by the same builder.
Contrary to the person contacted by the reporter from WFAA, it is a violation of FACTA do dump private information like described into the trash.
Every so often we get asked if they can have the paper back after we have shredded it. There are several reasons why we don’t do this.
The primary one is security. We send all of our shredded to a paper mill. At the mill it is turned back into paper pulp and the ink is removed. Think of it as a giant blender with paper and water. It comes out white and is made into new paper. I can’t imagine anything more secure. (I would consider burning to be equal but without the environmental benefits.)
The more fun reason is this is what it would look like emptying the truck at their location: