As of late, there’s been lots of buzz about identity theft in the news and how you can best prevent it. People are incredibly worried about identity theft coming from online exchanges, but in reality, those are only accountable for about 10% of all cases. The biggest threat may be coming from the paper mail or printed out documents you throw in the trash can or the recycling bin without even thinking about it. Even if you tear up your important documents, hackers or identity thieves can sort through trash or other thrown out goods to piece together the large bits. One thing that can help prevent you or your business from being a victim of identity theft is by using secure shredding services.
What Are Secure Shredding Services?
For companies, who may process a vast amount of confidential information, such as clients’ and employees’ social security numbers, personal contact information, banking information, etc., using paper shredding services can be one of the more important services they invest in. Paper shredding is crucial to ensuring that personal and business information is kept secure and confidential. Secure shredding services can take two basic forms: on site shredding service or off site shredding services.
In essence, onsite document shredding shred the materials in a shredder on site. You can watch and confirm that the shredding has been completed and most companies who offer this type of service will shred on a fixed schedule.
Offsite shredding involves your paper waste being picked up by the shredding company and shredded at one of their shredding facilities. If you’re shredding a large quantity of documents per day, this might be the way to go. However, you can’t personally confirm these documents were securely shredded and the transportation could be a security risk.
Other Benefits of Secure Shredding Services
Other than providing extra security, shredding has environmental benefits as well. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 80% of paper mills are designed with the intention of having them use the paper collected from shredding or recycling programs. Even better: recycling produces 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution than making original paper.
If that alone wasn’t enough to convince you, shredding paper can also be a good safety and space saving measure. Shredding can keep precious office space free and open and reduce your risk of fire, by limiting the amount of flammable paper around.
What Documents Can Be Destroyed?
Documents with personal information on them–especially social security numbers and other contact information that may be used to identify an individual–must be disposed of. Medical records, insurance companies, and financial institutions are also charged with disposing of documents. In fact, doctors and health insurance companies are legally required to have document shredding services, because of the sensitive information they handle.
For personal use, getting a small home shredder can still be an excellent idea. Use it to shred credit card offers or statements or any old bills and tax forms you want to get rid of. For businesses, getting a shredding service is an excellent idea to keep your company’s reputation clean and your clients’ information secure. In some cases, it may even be mandatory by law.
More research here.