Not only does a data breach typically result in considerable financial loss, but there are also other long-term costs. According to one study, three-quarters of consumers would stop engaging with a brand online after a breach. Breaches of personal data are a surefire way to destroy customer loyalty and trust, something that many organizations never recover from.
We often assume that data breaches are due to poor security of digital records; however, breaches also result from confidential documents being stolen or simply misplaced. On the scale of large technical security fails, a misplaced document may seem minor, but it can have significant consequences. One very famous low-tech data breach involved a healthcare organization that paid millions of dollars in fines for compromising privacy laws over a very simple error involving paper documents that could’ve easily been avoided. Whether the information in question relates to employee information or sensitive client information, keeping confidential documents secure is critical.
If it’s time to clean out or dispose of sensitive documents, securely shredding documents you no longer need is the most straightforward way to ensure that the data remains secure and your organization is protected.
If you don’t already have a document retention policy in place, it’s probably time to establish one. At the very least, you’ll need to begin thinking about a document destruction plan or policy. Keep in mind that in addition to a yearly cleaning, your business is likely accumulating a good deal of sensitive information on a very regular basis. Just like housekeeping or equipment maintenance, it’s important to have an ongoing process that places a high priority on making sure critical documents are not sitting in regular trashcans or dumpsters, leaving your company vulnerable to risk.
To Shred or Not to Shred?
There are two very common types of document destruction approaches: Selective Shredding and Shred-All Policies.
Selective Shredding: Depending on the types of documents and information handled in your organization, there may very well be documents that are simply not sensitive. Maybe some of these documents can even be recycled. In any case, clear instruction should be established for employees as to what falls under secure destruction and what does not.
Shred-All Policies: Shred-All policies are pretty much just how they sound – once a document is no longer needed, it is shredded. This eliminates any question as to what is sensitive and what is not. Implementing a shred-all policy certainly opens up many more questions, including will the shredding be done inhouse, outsourced, will documents be kept in locked bins until they are shredded, how often will shredding take place, etc.
Disposing of sensitive information through secure shredding is a powerful tool for protecting your business from fraud and data theft. Furthermore, educating your customers about your document destruction efforts helps build their trust in your brand.
If you need help putting document management or document destruction plan in place or want to discuss options for shredding services, contact the shredding experts at HIG!