Why Chain of Custody Matters in Shredding

A lock and shield icon is laid over an image of shredded paperBy law, any generator of private information is required to destroy expired confidential documents, and secure shredding is the recommended destruction method. Even though your information has remained in your control for its whole lifespan, if you put it into the hands of a third-party organization for shredding, you need to know that you can trust them. A chain of custody helps business owners be confident with outside service providers.


In the records management world, “chain of custody” is the process of keeping your information secure through every step of its lifecycle. It is the fully-documented, step-by-step history of where the information is and who has been in charge of it. The documentation, or chain of custody, begins from the moment of creation, called the “cradle,” until the time it is fully destroyed, called the “grave.” The chain of custody during this period is the paper trail that details the moment that the documents changed hands to the moment they are shredded and recycled.

Sometimes, when a company’s documents have reached the end of their lifespan, they will outsource the job of destroying them to a NAID AAA Certified professional shredding company. The International Secure Information Governance & Management Association (i-SIGMA) is the industry trade association for secure data destruction, and earning its NAID AAA Certification means a shredding company meets or exceeds the high security and ethical standards required by i-SIGMA.


A secure chain of custody during shredding is critical for legal requirements and for your company’s benefit. Here’s why:

  1. Legal: Data privacy regulations such as HIPAA require proof that documents are properly shredded. When your shredding company gives you a Certificate of Destruction, it acts as legal proof of when the transfer of possession of the documents occurred and where, when, how and by whom the documents were destroyed. This Certificate includes your account details (name, address, etc.), order number, service type, service time, equipment used, number of equipment services, the location of the equipment, truck identity, date, and time.
  2. Legal Action: Should a dispute occur between a business and another party, the Certificate of Destruction will provide you with proof of chain of custody in case your business is audited.
  3. Security: A chain of custody that includes a Certificate of Destruction provides you with peace of mind and documentation that the information you are responsible for remained secure from cradle to grave.


Outsourcing the final stages of the chain of custody of your sensitive documents requires proper research. A local, reputable shredding company is an invaluable asset to your business.

Richards and Richards is Nashville’s oldest NAID AAA Certified shredding company. We provide a Certificate of Destruction to complete your chain of custody and recycle 100% of your shredded paper. If you are concerned about choosing a secure shredding company to complete the chain of custody of your documents, call us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Request an Immediate Shredding Quote

Newsletter Signup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.