Waste Management 101

The Complete Beginner’s Business Guide to Document and E-Waste Shredding

In the wake of Sony’s recent, excruciatingly-public security breach, many businesses have finally sobered up to the reality that everyone is vulnerable to data theft. Though recent examples have primarily consisted of cyber-attacks, data breaches occur every day to thousands of companies and individuals through physical means. Data thieves can easily and successfully access anyone’s highly confidential information by performing a couple of dumpster dives or checking a few mailboxes.

Luckily you can lessen your risk of a company or personal security breach by properly shredding and disposing of your documents and e-waste. For those new to the idea, or scared into action by recent events, here is the complete guide to document and e-waste shredding and why it’s one of the most effective forms of protection against data theft.

Lesson 1: What’s The Big Deal?

Despite the various warnings and blatant signs of imminent danger, many people ignore the importance of proper paper waste management. Companies chalk it up as an unnecessary expense or simply don’t believe “it could happen to them.” Recent reports prove this mentality foolish, if not completely oblivious.

Example 1: In February 2014, RiskBasedSecurity.com released a study claiming that there were over 823 million confidential records compromised in 2013 alone. These records contained social security numbers, credit card numbers, and medical reports.

Example 2: Another study, conducted by Scott & Scott, LLP, of more than 700 businesses that experienced security breaches reported 74% of mid-to-large sized businesses experienced a loss of customers, 59% faced potential litigation, 33% faced industry fines, and 32% experienced a decline in their share values.

Can your company really afford to keep a nonchalant attitude toward paper waste management?

Lesson 2: Data Is Valuable

How many times have you tossed away a bill containing personal information into the trash without a second thought? For many of us, the answer is several times a week. This several times a week turns into hundreds, maybe even thousands of times per year. Think about how this affects your likelihood of data theft. Remember, if the information is there, they’ll take it. Data thieves aren’t picky when it comes to your personal data.

In fact, the motivation to provide any sort of personal information comes from direct profit. According to NPR.org, recent going rates per credit card number on the black market were anywhere from $35 – $45. At that rate, data thieves could make a lot of money on one job depending on whose recycle bin they raid.

Lesson 3: To Shred Or Not To Shred

Now that you understand the importance of proper document disposal, you must also learn the rules regarding shredding. At some point in time, yes, everything unnecessary needs to be shredded and properly disposed of. But for the hoarders and overly-worried people amongst the group, there’s no need to fret. Certain documents have recommended time frames in which they should be kept. The BBB has actually published a very handy Records Retention Schedule that lists this information.

However, once that time is up, you will then need to either shred the documents yourself or have a document shredding company do it for you. If you’re a newbie, or just generally do not have the time to devote to paper shredding, it is always in your best interest to hire paper shredding professionals to perform the job correctly. If not, you may leave other areas of information vulnerable.

This includes hard drive shredding and computer shredding. Your staff may be well-versed in document shredding, but otherwise ignorant to e-waste shredding. Hiring professionals can eliminate doubt and provide the kind of reassurance you need when so much is on the line.

Lesson 4: How & Why Shredding Works

Document and e-waste shredding is one of the most powerful ways to combat data theft today. Why? Because data thieves and hackers are for the most part, lazy. It only takes a couple hours of their time to hack into a company’s server or go through mail left in mailboxes. They then sell the data and have made their profit for the day. Pretty easy and convenient.

But if the information is not there or is shredded into thousands of tiny pieces – do you really think the average data thief would go through the trouble of piecing it together or searching more thoroughly for it? Probably not. They’ll just go to the next dumpster in hopes someone else may not have been as cautious.

This is why shredding works. Your data is completely destroyed and disposed of, and you relieve yourself of the anxiety that comes with all of the data’s liability.  Plus, it’s easy.  Once you get the hang of it, or implement a company-wide paper and e-waste shredding plan of action, it’ll become second nature. If you’d like to learn more about how document shredding and e-waste shredding can improve your company’s data security, contact your local document shredding company. If you don’t live in the Texas area these links above can still serve as a great resource. The more you educate yourself on the problem at hand and its resolution, the more likely you are to decrease your chance of data theft.

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