Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Safe and Secure Document Disposal Through Outsourcing

Many corporations, big and small, value the privacy and security of their documents as one of the paramount concerns for their business. It’s no surprise: besides basic federal regulations which require companies to keep data such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers private, some industries face added federal guidelines over information security, and no company wants their competitors to get a hold of sensitive product or development information. But it’s not just the security of the documents in your facility that’s important; you must be aware of the security of any information that’s due to be destroyed. This is where professional document shredding companies come in, though some may not understand the advantages of hiring such a company to handle the sensitive documentation headed out through the trash. Although every business should be concerned with the security of all information, all are also concerned with the bottom line. Many small business owners in particular are understandably concerned about adding expenses that seem easy to handle in-house. For example, why hire a professional shredding company when you can buy your own shredder for $50? Although this appears to be a good argument on the surface, there are some things that aren’t taken into consideration. For example, with a high load of shredding, cheaper machines will need to be replaced quickly. It’s also important to consider the lost productivity of employees who are assigned to shred their documents at the end of the day or week. It’s possible to lose hundreds of dollars an hour to employees simply standing before the shredder to dispose of their documents. Also, if the shredder is broken or the line for it is backed up, it’s easy for an employee to simply dump sensitive documents in the trash or recycle bin, leaving important client or proprietary information out where it’s easy to reach – and legal to obtain. Or, even if employees copiously shred everything, most cheap shredders don’t cross-cut, which makes it possible to “paste” the strips of paper back together with certain computer software. In the end, a professional shredding service pays for itself in terms of the peace of mind of knowing that documents are being disposed of properly. For an investment of about $50 a month, a professional service will provide background checks of their employees, a locked bin for all documents to be shredded, pickup of those documents, cross-cut shredding, mixing of the pieces so their almost impossible to put back together, and secure recycling of the shredded documents. Also, many companies will provide a “certificate of destruction,” legally verifying the date and time documents are destroyed. It’s of course important to choose a company certified by NAID (National Association for Information Destruction), and to research the company you choose closely before hiring them, but a professional service of this kind can take the worry out of document disposal.