Process and Verification Matter in Information Disposal

Are you completely confident that your business information is being properly disposed of? Do you have a verification system in place for ensuring secure disposal? Too many companies have no hard proof that their confidential documents and files are being securely disposed of, which may lead to non-compliance with the Data Protection Act and possible fines of up to £500,000.

In-house disposal problems

Even with the most conscientious and trustworthy employees, personal information may still be accidentally compromised. For example, a staff member may have every intention of shredding an accumulation of no-longer-needed files, but designates the task as low priority. In the meantime, data contained within these files can be compromised as they are waiting to be shredded. Shredding files with a shredding machine is unproductive for a number of reasons:

  • removal of binders, staples, paper clips
  • hand-feeding a few pages of paper at a time
  • overheating, breakdowns and paper jams

Therefore, proper document disposal easily gets relegated to the bottom of the pile and for the sake of saving time; documents may never even make it to the shredder, getting lazily tossed into a waste bin instead.

There’s also the problem of employees underestimating or not fully understanding what needs to be shredded. A seemingly innocuous handwritten note may contain valuable information that constitutes part of a record which should be securely disposed of. Corporate recycling programs may add to the confusion with staff members prioritising environmental practices over those that ensure privacy protection, which often leads to sensitive documents landing in recycling bins.

Information disposal processes can vary between departments—and even from person to person. Some businesses may charge maintenance and janitorial employees with the task of destroying documents. However, you may not want these staff members to have unfettered access to client—and employee—information. In short, lack of a clear and cohesive company-wide program increases privacy breach risks for your entire organisation.

Document retention and destruction often go hand-in-hand, yet many organisations lack the expertise and resources to implement retention and destruction policies, due to the following:

  • overwhelming volume of data
  • budget cuts
  • employees with multiple job roles

Meeting increased compliance demands is also challenging, as most businesses don’t have a system in place that can support an audit trail of information disposal.

Benefits of outsourced destruction

A professional document destruction service provides a secure information disposal process that ensures compliance with the Data Protection Act and fosters:

  • increased productivity
  • regular destruction of confidential material
  • company-wide privacy protection

Regular, secure disposal of records is encouraged with the placement of secure containers next to printers, photocopiers and in other high-traffic areas, and paper recycling takes place after files have been destroyed. A Certificate of Destruction is provided upon completion of each disposal process, providing you with legal evidence and a means to support audit objectives.

Archive Document Data Storage (ADDS) provides secure destruction solutions for businesses throughout London, Bristol, Bath, and Swindon. To find out more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

The File Queen: Expert in Record & Information Management, LPM Columnist.

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