Do I Really Need a Certificate of Destruction for Shredding?
Life is riddled with decisions carrying varying degrees of risk. Do you buy the extended warranty? Do you drive home in bad weather? Do you cast a vote against the majority? It’s hard making tough decisions but it’s also hard dealing with regret.
However, few decisions are as critical as those related to safeguarding personally identifiable information within your business. As you navigate the intricacies of information destruction, an important question emerges: “Do I really need a Certificate of Destruction for shredding?” The answer hinges on whether you want proof that you have complied with federal and state data privacy laws in case of an audit. In this article, we delve into the significance of this certificate and why it has become a priority for many.
What’s the Purpose?
A Certificate of Destruction is a formal document provided to you by a professional shredding company after they securely destroy your information—whether it be paper documents, hard drives, other media, electronics, or company products. This certificate serves as proof that the responsibility for safeguarding your information or products has transferred to the shredding company and that the destruction follows state and federal data privacy laws.
What’s the Risk?
Many individuals and small businesses opt for the do-it-yourself (DIY) method of document destruction, which does not come with the third-party verification of a Certificate of Destruction. The prevailing thought is, “If nothing goes wrong, why bother?” However, the risk extends beyond potential mishaps. Even in the absence of a data breach, the certificate holds value.
What’s its Value?
When All is Well
Your company may never experience a data breach, yet you remain susceptible to audits. The Certificate of Destruction, available after each shredding service, demonstrates to auditors that your company:
- Prioritizes the protection of private information.
- Adheres to the legal requirement of handling private information from “cradle to grave.”
- Complies with retention period requirements, ensuring information is neither prematurely destroyed nor held beyond its lifetime.
When Something Goes Wrong
In the unfortunate event of a data breach, having entrusted your documents to a reputable shredding company means having documentation to prove that the material was collected and destroyed in compliance with the law. This document outlines crucial information such as who handled the material and when, serving as evidence of timely and secure destruction.
What’s the Cost?
The perceived cost of obtaining a Certificate of Destruction only arises when opting for document destruction methods that cannot provide such documentation. DIY methods lack the ability to prove proper destruction or complete the chain of custody, and they often come with hidden risks. Professional and reputable shredding companies provide the certificate upon request and at no additional charge, making the cost negligible compared to the potential risks associated with other approaches.
Choosing the Best Destruction Company
Richards & Richards, Nashville’s oldest NAID AAA Certified shredding company, is compliant with federal and state information destruction requirements. Our shredding services, both off-site and on-site, guarantee secure destruction of documents, hard drives, electronics, as well as company products. For more information about our shredding services, contact us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page.