man shredding paper

The increased threats of identity theft and industrial espionage have moved data security to a business priority. The costs to a company that fails to protect the personal information in its care can be devastating. Add in federal and state privacy laws including FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act) and every office now needs a data security program.

Since the day of the paperless office are not here yet; a great deal of private information is still on paper documents. How you dispose of your files is just as important as how they are stored. This means a certifiable shredding program for every office regardless of size. Along with the greater importance on shredding is the growing volume of documents that need to be shredded.

Most businesses start by buying a paper shredder only to see their volume of shredding outgrow it in a few months — if it doesn’t seize up and die first. The next options are to buy an expensive high volume shredder or hire a shredding service. When the labor costs of shredding in-house are added to the cost of the shredder the answer becomes obvious.

But how should you choose a paper shredding service? Here are some things you should consider in your decision process.

Mobile Shredding or Plant Shredding – Services can either shred the material at your location in a “mobile truck” or take it back to a shredding plant. Either way is secure and the choice is really a function of your comfort level. It will also depend on the material being shredded. You need to witness the destruction of negotiable instruments like uncirculated checks but retired files should be taken to a plant to save money. One mistake to avoid is paying for the more expensive mobile shredding option but then failing to take the time to watch it.

Volume – Your volume of shredding will have the largest impact on the cost. For just a few boxes consider a courier service like Ship ‘n’ Shred. Larger volumes are picked up by a shredding service and destroyed and recycled. Mobile trucks can shred 5,000 pounds and hour and shredding plants can shred 20,000 pounds an hour so it is easy to see why it is less expensive to have your shredding done at a plant.

Certifications – Is the contractor certified by any organization? There are no government agencies that regulate shredders but the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) is the recognized certification body. Most shredding contractors have excellent security practices but a “AAA” certification from NAID means it was verified by a third party.

Service Time – What is the time it will take the service to get to your office? If you need service the next day make sure that is possible. Most contractors need two business days to schedule a pickup. Remember that off-hours or weekend pickups will cost extra.

References – Ask for and check references.

Additional Services – Do you need a service that can also handle hard drive destruction or product destruction?

Bin Types – For ongoing service, the shredder will place lockable bins in your location at no charge. There are many different sizes and styles of bins. Ask what each service offers.

Pricing – How do they charge for their service? I recommend a per-bin or per-box price. Avoid “per minute” prices as these are usually offered by services with slower equipment. As with any business purchase, get several quotes to make sure you are getting a good service at a fair price.