Without a program to control it, the daily trash of every business contains information that could be harmful to a business. This information is especially useful to competitors because it contains the details of current activities. Discarded daily records include phone messages, memos, misprinted forms, and drafts of bids and drafts of correspondence.
All businesses suffer potential exposure due to the need to discard these incidental business records. The only means of minimizing this exposure is to make sure such information is securely collected and destroyed.
To extract the scrap value from office paper, recycling companies use unscreened, minimum wage workers to extensively sort the material under unsecured conditions. The “acceptable” paper is stored for indefinite periods until there is enough of a particular type to process. The sorted paper, still intact, is then baled and sold to the highest bidder, often overseas, where it may be stored again for weeks or even months until it is finally used to make new products.
There is no fiduciary responsibility inherent in the recycling scenario. Paper is given away or sold and, in doing so, a company gives up the right to say how it is handled. There is, also, no practical means of establishing the exact date that a record is destroyed. In the event of an audit or litigation, this could be a legal necessity. And further, if something of a private nature does surface, the selection of this unsecured process could be interpreted as negligent. For these reasons, the choice of recycling as a means of information destruction is undesirable from a risk management perspective.
If environmental responsibility is a concern, materials may be recycled after they are destroyed or a firm can contract a service that will destroy the materials under secure conditions before recycling them. Any recycling company that minimizes the need for security has its own interests in mind and should be avoided.
Documents destroyed by Colorado Document Security are recycled by a professional paper service. The millions of bits of documents are baled and sent to a paper mill.
Take the time to investigate the company you are dealing with. A “Certificate of Destruction” is only as good as the company that will be destroying your confidential information. KNOW THE COMPANY YOU ARE DEALING WITH.
Any company contracting an information destruction service should require that it provide them with a signed testimonial, documenting the date that the materials were destroyed. The “certificate of destruction”, as it is commonly referred, is an important legal record of compliance with a retention schedule. It does not, however, effectively transfer the responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of the materials to the contractor.
If private information surfaces after the vendor accept it, the court is bound to question the process by which the particular contractor was selected. Any company not showing the due diligence in their selection of a contractor that is capable of providing the necessary security could be found negligent.
From a risk management standpoint, if your information is leaked by the fraud or negligence of a vendor, their obligations are irrelevant. The firm whose information falls into the wrong hands stands to lose the most, either from the loss of business, prosecution, or unfavorable publicity.
Since a business cannot transfer its responsibility to maintain confidentiality, it must be certain that it is dealing with a reputable company with superior security procedures. Unfortunately, there are those information services that provide certificates of destruction while having no semblance of security and, in some cases, no destruction process available to them. Anyone interested in contracting a data destruction service is advised to thoroughly review their policies and procedures, conduct an initial site audit and conduct subsequent unannounced audits.
Common sense dictates that payroll information and materials that involve labor relations or legal affairs should not be entrusted to lower level employees for destruction. But beyond that, competition sensitive information is best protected from them as well. It has been established; time and again those employees are the most likely to realize the value of certain information to competitors. And, lower wage employees often have the economic incentive to capitalize their success on it. The only acceptable alternatives are to have the materials destroyed under the supervision of upper management or by a carefully selected, high-security service.
Beyond the obvious issues of security, using a shredding service saves time and money. Purging a large volume of old records, for example, could take your employees months to do by hand. Industrial shredders can do the job in a matter of hours.
No, our large capacity truck-mounted shredder can shred it all. No need to strip papers from file folders, take out staples or remove paperclips. This saves you valuable employee time and effort. Colorado Document Security confidential document destruction is cheaper, cleaner and faster than an in-house shredder. Plus no questions of noise, dust and other health issues of an in-house shredder!