Shredding: It’s Not Just for Paper

Image of an external hard drive on a wooden table with a laptop computer and mobile phone.Maybe your business has been shredding your paper documents as a regular practice for a long time, so you feel confident you have been protecting your clients, your staff and your business reputation. You have even outsourced your shredding to a professional and reputable document destruction company that securely collects, transports, shreds, and recycles your material. Congratulations!

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that you have decreased the risk of an information breach and have taken the critical steps required to comply with data privacy laws when it comes to your paper documents.

The bad news is that you may still have private information leaking out through other means, like discarded hard drives, laptops, and other electronics. All things have a lifespan, and what you do with them at the end of their life is critical. But you may be thinking, “What is the likelihood of anything happening?” Consider the true story below.

True Story

Beginning in 2015, the financial institution, Morgan Stanley, improperly disposed of thousands of electronic devices. Some of the devices were auctioned off online without checking that customer data had been removed. The result was that about 15 million clients’ details were compromised over a five-year period.

In 2022, Morgan Stanley was required to pay out $35 million in settlement charges due to a class action suit. Morgan Stanley had contracted an irreputable service provider that neglected to follow rigorous guidelines for ensuring the devices were cleaned of all information. All involved parties, including Morgan Stanley, were more interested in additional revenue from the sale of the devices than they were in protecting the data contained on them. The result was not only a financial loss, but a damaged reputation and a major breach of trust.

Full Compliance

Had Morgan Stanley focused more on legal compliance and less on sharing a small profit on the sale of used devices, they would have discovered that physical destruction of hard drives and other electronic media is the only way to be sure the data they contain has been destroyed.

Here is a list of electronic devices with potential private information that you may be regularly throwing away, selling, recycling, or storing that could render your company non-compliant with privacy regulations:

  • Hard drives
  • USB drives
  • External hard drives
  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • Copiers
  • Fax Machines
  • CDs/DVDs/Blu-Rays
  • Computer back up tapes or other magnetic media

Product Destruction

In addition to paper, hard drives, and electronic media, your brand has value and can easily be damaged. Any discarded or outdated products should also be properly shredded. This includes:

  • Clothing items and company uniforms
  • Products marred by errors or mistakes
  • Obsolete or discontinued items
  • Recalled items
  • Unusable products
  • Name badges
  • Branded access cards
  • Promotional materials

Protect your company’s identity and reputation and never allow for products to be kept, donated, or sold. Have them shredded by a local, reputable shredding company.

Choosing a Company

Find a reputable destruction company that can shred paper, electronics, and products to keep your business compliant with security laws. Look for the following:

  • A NAID AAA Certified shredding company so you know they meet or exceed the highest security requirements in the industry and you can be confident that your paper documents, devices, and products will be protected and properly destroyed.
  • A shredding company that recycles electronics, paper, and the products they shred. Part of being environmentally friendly is making sure your shredded material stays out of the landfill.
  • A shredding company that provides you with a Certificate of Destruction as proof that your materials have been destroyed in compliance with all legal requirements.

Richards & Richards is Nashville oldest NAID AAA Certified shredding company. We shred paper, hard drives and electronic media, and products, and recycling is an integral part of our operation. For more information or to book service, call us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page. Our friendly shredding experts are ready to help!

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