Paper documents can pose a threat to the stability and success of your business and the safety of anyone whose information is on the pages. Many companies don’t have secure disposal facilities to recycle confidential documents or enough storage for everything. As a result, business owners often don’t lock away documents. Worse yet, some business owners don’t even consider document destruction an option and throw unneeded documents in dumpsters with regular trash waste. In these scenarios, competitors and thieves can gain access to haphazardly handled documents effortlessly and use any data they find to their advantage. These types of data breaches do more than damage your brand. They can damage your individual reputation and upend your life. Non-secure disposal of paper documents also poses other risks to the physical buildings that house them and the environment.
Simple changes to how you deal with hard copies of documents can solve many of these problems. After you store and securely lock away documents you need to store for legal purposes, you simply shred the rest! If you’re not convinced, consider the following ten reasons why you should make shredding documents the highest priority on your “To Do” list today.
Shredding documents helps you…
1. Dispose of Paper More Efficiently
When you manually tear or cut up documents to destroy them, you risk creating pieces with uneven edges and varying sizes that contain large swathes of information that make it easy for an identity thief or other criminal to reassemble the pieces and associated data like a puzzle. You also waste a lot of time and effort that you or your employees could use for other important business tasks. A professional document shredding firm can quickly and efficiently destroy large volumes of your documents in ways that make them impossible to reassemble.
2. Meet Legal Requirements
Federal and state data protection laws require that business owners handle confidential information about their customers, employees, vendors and others responsibly. To protect those who rely upon your business, it’s critical that you dispose of paper documents in responsible ways that limit the risk of data theft. Meeting legal requirements via document shredding also helps to lower your risk of future lawsuits related to offline data breaches.
3. Prevent Operations Information Theft
Paper documents can contain a wide variety of details about your business beyond individual personal information. For example, they can contain information about your day-to-day operations that your competitors, members of the media and others would love to exploit. Documents related to operations could include details that you’re not yet ready to announce publicly, such as quarterly sales numbers or the name of a new CEO or other important staff member. Improper disposal of a paper document that contains these types of details could lead to the information becoming public at a too soon critical time when you’re attempting to draw investors, make investments or enjoy a successful promotional campaign.
4. Block Industrial Spying Efforts
Beyond normal operations, you document other important information that you need to protect. Proprietary information and trade secrets are often highly sought by competitors and members of the public. You can lose more than profits when you lose information about new products and services or even future money-making business plans to another company or unethical individual or group because of poor disposal of confidential paper documents like printed research and planning reports or emails. When you lose your competitive edge, you can lose your entire company to consumer disinterest and customer attrition.
5. Protect Employment Details
Businesses store a lot of details about current and past employees on paper that can lead to identity theft and ruined reputations when seen by the wrong people, including home address and contact details, social security numbers, disciplinary and promotion reports, wage and direct deposit numbers and even whistleblower statements. It’s not only important to protect these details from release into the world. If you don’t store or destroy these documents, one or more of your employees could see private information about their coworkers that makes them believe that they’re not receiving equal or fair treatment. If they share this information, they could cause other employees to feel dissatisfied or demotivated.
6. Reassure Customers and Vendors
Your customers and vendors expect you to protect them from harm that can occur from the public release of their information. As with your employees, they expect you to protect their contact and financial details. Your vendors expect you to protect any private information about them that they only share with other businesses. When you tell them that you regularly destroy documents related to them via a professional document shredding service, you reassure them that you take the protection of their private details as seriously as you do your own.
7. Safeguard Your Personal Data
Document destruction is also important to protecting you from identity theft and fraud. A thief’s discovery of your personal data from one or more improperly destroyed documents can make it easy for them to use your identity, business profile or credit score to take out loans, acquire copies of your credit cards or even tap into your checking or savings accounts. Common documents used by thieves include bank and bill statements, vendor invoices and sales receipts. They can even use credit card and loan “junk mail” offers. Shredding documents into confetti prevents the use of this information.
8. Save Money by Reducing Storage Needs
When you keep unnecessary documents, they pile up. As years go by, you eventually find yourself paying a lot of money to store unneeded paperwork piles in stacked boxes and filing cabinets in multiple rooms or storage units. When you shred everything you no longer need, you can downsize storage and spend less money on building rental or lease, utility and general maintenance costs. If you own your building or storage unit, you can repurpose areas to use as additional space for administrative, research, manufacturing and other tasks.
9. Reduce Building Fire Risk
When paper burns, it acts like an accelerant fuel for a fire. A room or building filled with paperwork burns faster and hotter than a similar space containing less flammable materials. When documents burn, any associated fire also spreads in part because pieces of the burning paperwork float around and land away from the main source of the flames, which leads to areas catching fire that might have been otherwise spared from it. You can prevent this type of scenario by simply reducing the amount of paperwork you keep in any building associated with your business.
10. Prove That You Have a Green Business
A lot of companies claim to be green. A professional shredding company that disposes of your shredded documents with paper recyclers can provide you with a certification that proves that you’re telling the truth. Recyclers turn shredded paper into pulp, clean it and then reuse it for a variety of applications. The best shredding companies don’t merely provide proof that they destroyed your documents. They provide detailed reporting of the specific bins, amounts of shredded materials and the name of the recipient of the paper. This certification doesn’t only confirm that you’re billed correctly for these services. It’s proof that you did everything possible to extend the life cycle of paper that you use for your business.
At Shred Confidential, our Southern California clients know that they can trust us to help them discreetly destroy documents that contain sensitive data and dispose of the materials in environmentally-friendly ways. We use every tool at our disposal to make on-site and off-site document destruction an easy, efficient and inexpensive process. We also follow up with a shredding certificate that clearly details our services. To learn more about our professional options for shredding confidential documents, call today.