Why you should shred paper

Every day, businesses and individuals accumulate sensitive information on paper. Even in this so-called ‘paperless age’, hard copy data is commonplace – whether it’s receipts, bills or printed bank statements in the domestic environment or customer lists and payroll records in the workplace. These are all documents that should be properly destroyed when they’re no longer needed. Why? Here are just a few reasons why businesses have a responsibility to shred important documents:

Prevent identity theft

This type of fraud happens almost 500 times a day in the UK, according to recent figures, with a record 89,000 cases of identity theft having occurred in the first half of 2017. And although many businesses are now storing data electronically, the notion of a completely paperless office is unrealistic. Therefore, it’s essential that you shred documents that are no longer needed and store those that are still in your possession in a safe and protected place.

It’s the law

With legislation around information privacy and security becoming increasingly strict, and the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into force on 25Th May 2018 replace the Data Protection Act 1998, businesses have a duty to protect the secure information of their customers and employees. Failure to meet the regulations could result in stiff penalties.

Protect your staff

All employers carry a legal responsibility to keep their employees’ personal information safe, including health records, copies of photo IDs and pay slips. Shredding provides a far more secure alternative to simply throwing these items in the bin.

Protect your customers

It also goes without saying that your customers’ identities require secure protection. Any documents containing sensitive customer information should be safely shredded.

Protect the environment

Using a company like Russell Richardson to shred your confidential documents means you’re helping the environment: sustainability is very important to us and we recycle 100% of the paper we shred.

Create more space

Keeping boxes, filing cabinets and cupboards full of paper documents you neither need nor know what to do with takes up a lot of valuable space in the workplace. Enlisting our shredding services means freeing up this space and clearing away clutter, which in turn can make the environment safer and more attractive for staff and clients alike.

Why do I need a paper shredding service?

Businesses are responsible for holding a lot of information — they keep databases of their customers and staff and handle all manner of sensitive personal and financial material. For this reason it’s highly important that any physical copies of such information are destroyed appropriately in line with regulations.

And by 25 May 2018, when the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the UK, companies holding paper files dating back several years will need to destroy them. In many cases this will be no small task.

Why an office shredder isn’t enough

It’s time-consuming

It might be tempting to shred sensitive documents in-house. However, this can take a considerable amount of time using a standard shredding machine, and means taking staff members away from the day-to-day running of the business.

It costs more

Of course, time is money so it’ll end up costing you more to elect staff members to keep on top of destroying documents. And the cost of running and maintaining shredders you use frequently over time will only add to this.

The shredding isn’t always sufficient

Often, the shredding equipment used in offices is fairly basic and won’t destroy your documents adequately. It generally uses the ‘strip cut’ method of shredding, which produces ribbon-like strips of paper. This is not sufficient for commercial use, since the shredded waste paper could still be read and reassembled if it were to get into the wrong hands. But a professional shredding service will use industrial, cross-cut shredders that cut the paper both widthways and lengthways. For example, a single A4 sheet could be left in between 300 and 900 tiny pieces, meaning the shredded waste is far more secure.

Your documents could get into the wrong hands

When handling information security in-house, unfortunately there’s no guarantee that sensitive documents containing salary information, for example, couldn’t get into the wrong hands internally, or that financial or client data can’t be picked up by a competitor. In essence, you can’t be too careful and it makes sense to protect your business from unnecessary risk.

You can’t prove your compliance

In-house shredding is likely to be done when needed and piles of sensitive documents can accumulate as other tasks take priority, making it difficult to keep track of what’s been destroyed and what hasn’t. But by partnering with a professional shredding service, you’ll receive a certificate of destruction after every collection, which means you also have proof — should you ever need it — of your compliance with data protection regulations.

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