Shredding and Its Role in Data Security

Shredding Data Security

Data security is critical for businesses of all sizes. No matter your specialty, businesses rely on data to perform operations, complete transactions, and function effectively. Companies are responsible for safely handling data and maintaining confidentiality for their customers and employees. Investing in data security protects businesses and prevents leaks of valuable information, and shredding remains a key component of that plan.

While many businesses currently emphasize their cybersecurity, hard-copy document security remains important. Electronic threats are not the only threats that have serious consequences. A data breach, regardless of its origin, damages your brand reputation and costs money. Shredding strengthens data security and prevents data breaches by destroying documents at the end of their lifecycle.

Be Aware of Security Threats

Businesses tend to overestimate their ability to handle data loss before a breach occurs. Companies should regularly review their safety mechanisms for data security to reduce the risk of a breach. You should also be aware of all security threats when assessing the status of your security process.

Insider Threats

An insider threat originates from an individual inside your organization. Anyone with authorized access to your information and resources could leak data. The threat can be unintentional, intentional, or malicious.

Unintentional threats often result from human error or negligence. It happens when data is mistakenly sent to the wrong place, when documents are lost, or when sensitive information is not disposed of correctly. These types of threats can be avoided by following security best practices and training employees on data security.

Intentional and malicious threats occur when an insider leaks data to cause harm or benefit financially. Knowing how to identify possible threats, tactics, and tools they may use to leak information can mitigate the risks of an attack. 

On-site Visitors

On-site visitors present a data security threat without proper physical security measures in place. If outside individuals can easily enter and gain access to information, they pose a risk. Creating a visitor management system creates a safer work environment, while also maintaining a hospitable experience for visitors and employees.

Visitor access should be limited and documented. Computers and document storage areas should be locked and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. All unneeded documents containing sensitive information should be destroyed. Limited access prevents undetected threats and shredding keeps the potential abuse of information at a minimum.

The Cost of a Data Breach

According to an IBM Report, a data breach in the US costs over twice as much as the global average. A breach can result in millions of dollars lost, irreparable damage to your reputation, significant financial hardships, and can even cripple your business entirely.

The consequences don’t stop there. After a breach, companies often face lawsuits, unexpected recovery costs, fines and penalties, and downtime during the data recovery process. Whether the costs are direct or indirect, you will want to minimize them however you can. Investing in data security is a necessity that will save you from huge costs in the long run.

Make a Data Security Plan for your Shredding

Making a data security plan protects your business from exposed data. There are several steps you can take to prevent intentional and unintentional threats to your information. Below, we will provide you with critical components of a data security plan focused on protecting hard-copy documents.

•	Complete an inventory of all records: A complete inventory will help you recognize if/when documents are missing. An organized filing system also helps you locate your records quickly and easily. 
•	Set a high standard for cleanliness: Clean workspaces reduce the occurrence of security-related mistakes. Documents are less likely to be misplaced or lost when you stay organized. It is a good idea to provide secure shred bins at each desk to maintain high security and organization. 
•	Know how to identify sensitive information: Recognizing sensitive information ensures that documents containing confidential data will be disposed of properly. A list breaking down the types of information that make a document sensitive should be accessible to anyone who might need it, including new hires.
•	Develop a retention and destruction schedule: A records retention and destruction schedule is a systematic plan for how long information must be kept for legal or operational purposes. Maintaining schedules allows you to organize, store, and destroy data in an effective and compliant manner. 
•	Securely store inactive records: Providing the highest security for your documents often requires off-site records storage. Off-site storage provides damage protection, constant monitoring, and next-level defense for your documents. 
•	Create a document destruction policy: Data privacy laws require the secure destruction of your records. Your policy for document destruction should include professional shredding of all sensitive documents. 
Consider enforcing a shred-all policy to err on the side of caution by destroying all documents. A shred-all policy leaves zero documents to be lost or stolen, prevents mistakes, and reduces the time required for training and decision-making.  
•	Select a reliable shredding partner: Shred Nations will connect you with a certified shredding partner in your area. Our shredding companies keep you within legal compliance, maintain strict confidentiality, and provide a certificate of destruction with each service.

An effective document management plan addresses the entire lifecycle of your documents. It should include ongoing training, evaluation, and communication to continuously improve and support data security. It should take all types of security threats into consideration, including hard-copy threats, cyberattacks, insider risks, and visitor policies.

Shredding plays an important role in data security. Maintaining a regular shredding schedule remains crucial to keeping your documents safe. How often you shred, what you shred, and how you shred your documents are critical steps in preventing a data breach.

Minimize Your Risk of a Data Breach with Shred Nations Today

Shred Nations offers secure shredding for businesses across the nation. We offer a variety of services to meet your company’s unique needs. From high-security mobile shredding that allows you to witness the entire process, to high-volume off-site shredding for businesses that generate large amounts of paper waste, Shred Nations has you covered.

Contact us today by calling (800) 747-3365 or fill out the form to receive free, no-obligation price quotes from shredding companies near you. We look forward to protecting your business from a data breach with secure shredding services.