Business Document Shredding is Not Legally Required

Document shredding is something that seems relatively simple—you purchase a shredding machine, shred your documents, and dispose of the shreds.

But with the advances in technology that can take a shredded document and re-assemble it, the need for a shredder that makes that process virtually impossible is growing.

To combat this, the document shredding industry has developed an extensive guide on which types of documents need to be shredded more completely, along with specific sizes and protocols to ensure that secure documents remain that way until they’re completely recycled.

This article will help you evaluate what type of shredding you require for your business. Keep in mind that a mobile shredding service or offsite shredding service will not only shred your documents, they will also co-mingle them with thousands of other documents, making it even more difficult for your information to be compromised.

What Are the Different Kinds of Paper Shredders?

Before going into the details of the shredding requirements, it’s important to understand all the different types of shredders that are available for purchase or rented for a limited amount of time.

Here’s some of the most popular types of paper shredders:

    • Strip-Cut Shredders: the least secure type of shredder, they use rotating knives to cut narrow strips as long as the original sheet of paper.
    • Cross-Cut or Confetti-Cut Shredders: these use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular, parallelogram, or diamond-shaped pieces.
    • Particle-Cut Shredders: these machines create tiny square or circular pieces.
    • Pierce-and-Tear Shredders: rotating blades pierce the paper and then tear it apart.

Strip cut shredding is often chosen because it’s a little cheaper, but it lacks the security of a finer cut. 90% of our mobile shredding trucks and offsite shredding facilities use pierce-and-tear shredders, which provide excellent security for virtually any business.

What Is DIN 66399, and Why Did It Replace DIN 32757?

LawDIN Security Standards are used to help define and standardize the different levels of security for international paper shredding. It’s used as a benchmark to set the size and type of data that needs to be shredded appropriately.

Originally, DIN 32757 had 6 different security levels. When the standard was replaced with DIN 66399, they created 42 variations based on media, protection classes, and security levels.

DIN Protection Classes

Companies need to start the shredding process by determining what type of data you need to shred. DIN 66399 has three protection classes that help you define the requirements and classification for your data:

DIN Protection Class 1

This protection class is for internal data that’s accessible for fairly large groups. There’s very little impact that would negatively affect the company. This class still emphasizes the protection of personally identifiable information or PII, but no real specific security requirements.

DIN Protection Class 2

Protection class 2 is intended for confidential data that should be restricted to a small group of employees. If this data is compromised, a considerable backlash might violate contractual obligations or laws. PII has stricter requirements and needs to be handled more securely in this protection class. If a data breach occurred, there could be a considerable risk to the social standing and financial situation of individuals that are affected.

DIN Protection Class 3

Crosscut Shredder

Defined as the most confidential and secret data that needs authorization to access, protection class 3 is usually restricted to a very small, named group. Unauthorized access and public knowledge could have serious consequences for the company (threatening its livelihood) and could violate professional secrecy, contracts or legislation.

Protection of PII in this class is paramount, and must be ensured at all cost to prevent a risk to health or the or personal freedom of individuals in this class.

Once you determine the proper protection class, the next step is to determine the size you need to shred your documents or media. DIN 66399 defines 7 security levels for each material classification.

DIN Security Levels

As you increase the security level, the requirements and recommendations for the shredded media becomes smaller.

The seven security levels in the new DIN 66399 will protect your data.

Security Level P-1

P-1 is recommended for general data or information that needs to be rendered illegible for business reasons. When shredded, this data can be reproduced without using special equipment or special knowledge but usually involves a time-consuming process.

Security Level P-2

This security level is also designated for shredding general internal documents. When shredded, this data can be reproduced with equipment and only in a particularly time-consuming process.

Security Level P-3 

P-3 is designated for shredding internal documents that contain sensitive, confidential, and personal data. When this data is shredded, you should only be able to reproduce it with considerable effort.

Cross Cut Paper Shreds are Secure

Security Level P-4

This security level is recommended, for particularly sensitive, confidential, and personal data. Any paper shredder with this level of security is FACTA Compliant. When this data is shredded, it can only be reproduced using equipment not normally available commercially or with equipment that is of special construction.

Security Level P-5

This security level is recommended for confidential information. Any paper shredder with this level of security is FACTA Compliant. If you were to try to reproduce this shredded data, you’re unlikely do it without state of the art equipment.

Security Level P-6

If you have confidential information demanding an exceptionally high level of security, P-6 is the level that you need. As with P-6, if you were to try to reproduce this shredded data, you’re unlikely do it without state of the art equipment.

Security Level P-7

As the highest level of security, P-7 is recommended for data that holds strictly confidential information demanding the highest security precautions. P-7 is approved by the NSA/CSS for top secret shredding. This data cannot be reproduced with the current state of science.

DIN Security Level Document Type Strip Cut Size Cross Cut Size
Level P-1 General internal documents <3/8″ width x (length not determined) 3/8″ x 1-1/2″ – 3/8″ x 3-1/8″ with max size 3 3/32” squared
Level P-2 General internal documents <1/4″  width x (length not determined) Max size 1-15/64” squared
Level P-3 Sensitive internal documents <1/8″ width x (length not determined) Max size 1/2″ squared
Level P-4 Particularly sensitive documents 1/4″ width x (length not determined) Max size 1/4″ squared
Level P-5 Confidential information <1/16” width x (length not determined) Max size 3/64” squared
Level P-6 Exceptionally high security <1/16” width x (length not determined) Max size 1/64” squared
Level P-7 Strictly confidential information <1/32” width x (length not determined) Max size 1/125” squared

Do You Need Secure Document Shredding or Electronic Media Destruction?

Whether you’re looking for secure mobile shredding services or electronic media destruction, Shred Nations can help you find a NAID Certified provider in your area. Our trained staff of specialists that can help you decide the best course of action for your project.

Our network of contractors allows us to come to your location if you need to ensure a proper chain of custody, and you will be provided a certificate of destruction that details when and where your documents or electronics were destroyed.

To get started, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (800) 747-3365 to receive free shredding quotes in minutes.