How to dispose of your confidential documents

Sadly, many businesses and individuals will not think twice about throwing all their confidential waste – drafts of letters, contracts, board minutes, marketing collateral, industrial R&D, personnel records, and old customer information, for instance – in the general waste stream. This is not through maliciousness – although that can happen – but through ignorance.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to business. You could have some very disgruntled customers if their data is compromised, your business’s reputation can suffer, your bottom line can be severely depleted, and you could be fined up to 4% of annual turnover by the ICO if found to be in breach of your obligations under the UK’s GDPR law.

Here are five steps to improve your data security – immediately

1. Educate every member of your business about data security – from site management teams to the board, everyone needs to cultivate a security culture

2. Reduce printouts. Less paper, ink and printer maintenance are obvious wins. Increased security is, for many, a less obvious one. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t instil enhanced protocols for digital documents, such as restricted access, sharing, and so on, too

3. Generate a list of key documents. Now rank them in order of confidentiality. You should also consult the legal requirements for document retention – many must be kept securely for years, ranging from two or three up to in perpetuity. This will drive how you keep these documents – online or in storage – and the dates for when they should be disposed of

4. Choose the right products in which to store your confidential waste. Will your business need a certain capacity because so much is disposed of every day, or must access be more restricted, for example?

5. Choose a document shredding service provider that suits your requirements, such as on-site shredding so you witness your documents’ destruction or Home Shredding for all hybrid workers who should still mirror correct in-office processes and procedures

Restore Datashred know there are many paper document shredding providers on the market, all claiming to offer security and efficiency. This can make taking a decision more complicated than it seems at first. As a company that is ‘serious about shredding’, they believe that the following are the minimum you should check for.

–> A shredding business that understands data protection laws, and is an expert in how those laws apply to your industry

–> A shredding business that puts security first: their operatives work to BS7858 standard, which includes CRB criminal record check; they provide locked consoles and large wheelie bins for your site; there are 24-hour CCTV and security entry protocols at each of their shredding sites; the chain of custody is fully auditable, and ends in a certificate of destruction as proof of secure disposal

–> A shredding business that uses technology to enhance operations: as a large fleet operator they run their vehicles on sophisticated traffic and environmental control software; their smartly liveried modern vehicles can shred at your place or theirs; state-of-the-art shredding machines that reduce paper, and digital media and plastics, into tiny fragments in a matter of moments

–> A shredding business that recycles everything: 0% to landfill, for any material they shred, is their commitment

–> A shredding business committed to reducing environmental impacts: their business is on track to meet their own Net Zero by 2035 strategic goal through transitioning sensibly to electric and alternative-fuelled vehicles, and generating their own renewable energy; their drivers are trained to use their vehicles efficiently and considerately; they have 11 shredding facilities across the UK, all operating within their local radius to reduce unnecessary mileage and consumption; in partnership with Planet Mark™, they are reducing their carbon emissions within the business and contributing to offsetting programmes of re-forestation in regions such as the Amazon…

–> A shredding business that works hard to achieve, and maintain, industry and other highly relevant accreditations: these include ISO 27001, ISO 9001, and ISO 14001 as well as many other specialist standards. Restore Datashred has accreditations you can view online

–> And, lastly but most importantly, a shredding business that puts customers first: their reputation for service excellence is born out by their customers’ references on Trustpilot that consistently rate them as ‘Excellent’, and their customer service team is well known for their friendly, knowledgeable approach to tailoring the right services for the best outcomes.

What’s the answer to how you should dispose of your confidential documents in the best way?

Why don’t you put their team to the test and find out for yourself how we make the grade. Contact Restore Datashred or call customer services on 0800 376 4422.