Shredded Destroying Confidential DocumentDocument shredding is something that seems relatively simple- you purchase a shredding machine, shred your documents, and dispose of them.

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 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 shred your documents and co-mingle them with other businesses, making it even more difficult for your information to be compromised.

What are the Different Kinds of Paper Shredders that are Available?

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

Here’s some of the most popular types of paper shredders, as defined by Wikipedia:

  • Strip-cut shredders, the least secure, use rotating knives to cut narrow strips as long as the original sheet of paper.
  • Cross-cut or confetti-cut shredders use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular, parallelogram, or diamond-shaped) pieces.
  • Particle-cut shredders create tiny square or circular pieces.
  • Pierce-and-tear shredders have rotating blades that pierce the paper and then tear it apart.


We get questions about the differences between a cross-cut shredder and a strip-cut shredder all the time- and if you’re using a home shredder for your business, this is the type of shredding you’ll probably be using.

90% of our mobile shredding trucks and offsite shredding facilities use pierce-and-tear shredders, which provides excellent security measures for virtually any business.  If you need more security, just ask!  We should have a provider to help you.

What is DIN 65399, and why did it replace DIN 32757?

protect your confidental documents with the right shredding security levelDIN 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 EU updated the standard to DIN 65399, they created 42 variations based on media, protection classes, and security levels.

The Shredder Warehouse has some detailed information on the changes and new levels here, but we’re going to explain some of the protection classes and security levels below.

DIN Protection Classes

Companies need to start the shredding process by determining what type of data you need to shred.  DIN 65399 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:

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, which is mentioned in the link from the Shredder Warehouse above.

DIN Security Levels

Data-security-paper-shreddingAs you probably guessed, 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- we want to be sure that we focus on document shredding, but we also offer secure electronic media destruction that can be applied to these security levels.

Security Level P-1

This security level is designated for shredding general internal documents.  All security levels are divided into size Requirements for strip-cut shredding and crosscut shredding.  P-1 is recommended for general data or information that needs to be rendered illegible for business reasons.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum width of 3/8″ with a maximum strip width of 7/16” (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – between 3/8″ x 1-1/2 in² and 3/8″ and 3-1/8 in² with a maximum material particle size of 3 3/32 in²

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.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum Width is slightly less than ¼” (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – Maximum particle size of 1 15/64 in²

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.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum Width is 1/8” (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – Maximum particle size of 1/2 in²

When this data is shredded, you should only be able to reproduce it with considerable effort.

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.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum Width is slightly less than 1/4 “ (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – Maximum particle size of 1/4 in²

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.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum Width is slightly less than 1/16 “ (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – Maximum particle size of 3/64 in²

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.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum Width is slightly less than 1/16 “ (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – Maximum particle size of 1/64 in²

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.

  • Strip-Cut – Maximum Width is slightly less than 1/32“ (strip length is not limited)
  • Cross-Cut – Maximum particle size of 0.008in²

As you probably guessed, this data cannot be reproduced with the current state of science.

Do you need secure Document Shredding or Electronic Media Destruction?  Shred Nations can help!

nexcutWhether 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 for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION QUOTE IN MINUTES!