Everything You Need to Know about Document Shredding

More to it Than Meets the Eye

A woman in a white blouse is smiling and giving a thumbs up sign with her right hand while holding a symbol of a green checkmark in her left hand.If you haven’t ever said it yourself, you’ve likely heard someone else say, “If only I had known earlier, I wouldn’t have _______.“ It’s often the result of people who attempt a self-employed venture or take on a DIY project. Shredding documents as an individual or business can seem like a fairly simple and basic concept from the beginning, but there’s more to document shredding than meets the eye. Here are some basic principles about why professional shredding companies exist.

Responsibility to Others

Document shredding exists because private information has become a valuable commodity to other businesses and especially to identity thieves. As a generator and handler of personally identifiable information (PII), your organization is responsible for protecting your employees’ and customers’ information during its lifecycle and at the time of final disposition. By properly destroying any information that is being discarded, whether on paper or digital, you are fulfilling your responsibility to keep that information secure.

Responsibility to the Law

Protecting PII goes beyond ethical responsibility. State and federal governments continue to implement and update privacy laws requiring anyone who creates, stores, uses and discards information to follow specific laws:

  • HIPAA protects private health information.
  • FACTA enhances consumer protections, particularly regarding identity theft.
  • SOX mandates required practices in financial record keeping and reporting.
  • GLBA requires financial institutions to safeguard information and clarify their information sharing practices to customers.
  • FERPA protects the privacy of student education records.
  • Tennessee Information Protection Act (TIPA) protects the privacy of Tennessee residents.

Cost of DIY Shredding

Purchasing an office shredding machine to destroy your own residential or commercial documents seems like an economical decision, but what appears to be cheap may be more costly than you thought. Consider these hidden expenses:

  • Time. Office shredding machines are designed to be affordable, but because of their low cost, they are slow and restrictive. First, you have to remove staples, paperclips, folders, and more to avoid damage to the machine. Then you can only feed a few pages at a time to avoid a paper jam. As soon as you get into a rhythm with feeding pages in, the machine overheats and requires a cool-down period of 30 to 60 minutes, dramatically extending the time required to shred just a few files. And don’t forget that you will need to frequently empty the shred collection receptacle. Add to all of this the fact that your staff will be spending valuable time hovering over the shredder rather than focusing on their core tasks.
  • Security. Unfortunately, the reality of an inconvenient shredding machine is that confidential paperwork gets stacked around it or tossed into the recycling bin or trash can, putting your business at risk of non-compliance with data privacy laws and failing to protect the sensitive information of your employees and customers. If a data breach occurs on your watch, your business could be held legally and financially liable, damaging your reputation and your bottom line.

When you work with a reputable shredding company, they will place locked shred collection containers throughout your facility where documents and files can be stored securely until they are picked up by a professional shredding technician to be securely destroyed.

  • Ecology. Beyond the benefits of legally-compliant document shredding, consider the value of your shredded paper being recycled rather than releasing chemicals and greenhouse gases in the landfill. When your material is recycled into a wide range of paper products, you protect trees, which protects our environment, wildlife, water, and air. It’s a huge win for your community and the earth as a whole.

Richards & Richards is Nashville’s oldest NAID AAA Certified shredding company, and we recycle 100% of the paper we shred. When you leave the shredding to us, we not only keep your information secure, but we also take the hidden costs and recycling off your hands. For more information or for a free shredding services quote, give us a call at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page. Our shredding experts are ready to help.

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