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Common Misconceptions about Shredding

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Whether your business shreds documents on a regular basis or not, here are a few misconceptions about shredding.

Misconception #1: Shredding is Recommended, Not Mandatory

A small pile of shredded paperThe size or type of business you have has no effect on whether you are required to shred your documents or not. The fact is, the simple act of collecting, generating, storing and using Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in your business instantly obligates you, by law, to destroy that information at the end of its lifecycle.

State and federal laws require you to protect all PII handled by your business, which means having your documents and hard drives shredded beyond recognition.

The laws that govern the handling and protection of private information include:

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Fair and Accurate Transaction Act (FACTA)
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
  • Pennsylvania’s Consumer Data Privacy Acts (House Bills 1126 and 2202) that are currently being considered
  • The Consumer Data Protection Act (HB 2257) that is currently being considered

Failure to comply with the laws in place currently may include federal or state legal action, consumer lawsuits, heavy fines, and possible imprisonment for those responsible.

Misconception #2: If We Don’t Discard, We Don’t Need to Shred

In addition to protecting private information, state and federal laws require businesses to destroy collected information by a certain date. This is known as a retention period, which is different for different types of business information. Knowing and following the retention periods of your information is mandatory to remain compliant with the law.

In addition to complying with legal requirements, adhering to retention dates is safer for your business, too. The longer you hold on to information, the higher the risk of that information being breached.

Misconception #3: Shredding In-House Is More Affordable than Using a Shredding Company

Consider these expenses of shredding in-house:

  • The purchase and regular replacement cost of a shredding machine multiplied by how many are required for the size of your office.
  • The cost of your staff’s time as they painstakingly feed a few pages at a time into the shredder, deal with constant jams, frequently empty the receptable, and wait for the shredder to cool down for 30 minutes after a mere 5-10 minutes of shredding.
  • The cost of the risk you’re taking by assuming that the shredded paper can’t be reassembled, leaving you open to legal action, fines, and a damaged business reputation in the case of a data breach.
  • The cost of not having a Certificate of Destruction to prove your compliance in case of an audit.
  • The cost to our environment of having to discard shredded paper in the trash bin instead of the recycling bin because your local waste management company can’t take shredded paper in their consumer recycling stream.

Misconception #4: Employees Will Shred as Long as There’s a Shredder Available

Your employees should be focused on their jobs, not worried about shredding each sheet of paper when they’re done with it. The truth is, most people find using a shredding machine a tedious waste of time, so they avoid it. What happens to those confidential documents then? They lay around on desks and in piles, each piece of paper leaving you open to a data breach.

Sleep soundly at night knowing you are helping protect your company from data breaches. Instead of relying on DIY shredding, consider partnering with a professional shredding company that can not only shred your documents on site in a state-of-the-art mobile shredding truck, but also provide you with a Certificate of Destruction after each shredding service.

Wiggins Shredding provides secure, compliant paper shredding and hard drive and electronics destruction services to clients in Pennsylvania and the Tri-State area of Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware. We shred on-site in our mobile shredding trucks so your information stays secure. For more information or to book a shredding service, call us at 610-692-TEAR (8327) or complete the form on this page. Our shredding experts are standing by to help you!

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