In today’s information age, it can be difficult to keep your data secure, especially as we embrace digital technologies across our home and work lives. Online security is now just as vital as physical data protection, where these two elements work together to protect our information from various threats.
Despite an increase in digital data storage, paper still dominates the information world, both for businesses and individuals. As such it needs to be handled carefully to protect people’s information and prevent dangerous data leaks. One way in which paper documents can be properly managed is through shredding, where this should be undertaken in line with current legal advice.
Read on to find out more about how to shred in accordance with the law, with a look at current legislation and top secure shredding methods.
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) is an Act of Parliament that dictates how personal information should be handled by businesses, organisations and the government. Its data protection principles have to be followed closely, where these include making sure that data is accurate, safe and secure. Importantly, data also shouldn’t be kept for longer than necessary. Secure shredding can help these guidelines to be applied in practice.
Businesses should also act in accordance with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) when handling sensitive personal data, meaning information needs to be handled according to the wishes of the person or organisation it corresponds to. As such secure data destruction is essential.
It can be particularly important to work with a professional shredding service if your business is handling sensitive information. This is because it acts as a record that your documents have been properly disposed of if you choose to work with an official shredding organisation, helping to instil customer or client confidence that their data has been handled properly.
A shredding company will also issue you with an official Certificate of Destruction, detailing that your documents have been thoroughly shredded. This further protects your business in terms of data protection, as you can prove that any personal information has been properly disposed of.
For home shredding, it’s important that you enlist the help of the right equipment if you want to be entirely GDPR compliant. Different shredders work in different ways, meaning some are more thoroughly destructive than others. In order for your shredding to be compliant with current legislation, it is recommended that you choose a shredder with a security level of P-4 or above, where this means it is ‘Secret’. In comparison, a level 3 shredder is ‘Confidential’ and level 5 is ‘Top Secret’.
Although data protection laws demand that businesses and individuals take care of personal data carefully, there are some documents that you should not shred. These should be filed securely but kept in tact for future reference, where some examples include:
One part of your business that should be well documented is the financial side, where bills, payments and investments should all be detailed in private company files. These can be digitised for added security or physically protected under lock and key. This allows the financial record of the business to remain entirely transparent, whilst assisting with the creation of new budgets and spending plans.
Another financial aspect of your business that should remain well documented is your tax payments, whether you’re a large private company or simply a business with one or two employees. Tax returns and acceptance forms should all be filed carefully to facilitate a straightforward auditing process.
Various documents that are useful for proving your identity, whether on a personal or business level, should be kept safe and in good condition. This includes forms such as your birth certificate and proof of employment or address. There is a clear difference between storing your own personal information and having your information kept by a private company, where individuals are generally responsible for keeping their personally held documentation safe and secure.
It is also important that you keep hold of copies of legal documents such as marriage, divorce and death certificates, where these can come in handy for proof of identity as well as for financial and legal processes. If you lose or damage your documents then you can typically order a new certificate online.
Information about your property, whether private or commercial, should be maintained in case they are needed. This includes information such as building surveys, land deeds and transaction records. These documents may come in handy if a land dispute takes place or if you’re looking to sell your property.
If you’re in the process of making a payment or transaction, then you should keep these documents safe. Contracts with clients and other relevant documents could come in handy if a bill is disputed, where any legal proceeding will require tangible evidence. Once a payment or business transaction has been settled then these receipts and forms can be destroyed.
Insurance is another aspect of documentation that shouldn’t be destroyed. Whether it’s building insurance for your business or personal life insurance, it is important that all details of your insurance policies are organised safely. This is because you will need them to hand if you ever need to make a claim, where you will require your policy information and potentially your prior claims history in order to secure a payout.
There are various ways that a document can be shredded, where these each deliver a different level of security. These top techniques include:
Strip-Cut Shredding – This is the most common shredding method usually delivered by standard office equipment. It involves cutting the paper into strips where this can be done quickly, although it is the least secure approach as documents could be reassembled.
Cross-Cut Shredding – A slightly more thorough shredding technique, this involves cutting the paper with both vertical and horizontal blades. Although it more completely destroys the document, some data may still be visible afterwards.
Particle-Cut Shredding – This method uses small blades to cut down paper into thousands of very small pieces. As a result this approach to shredding is very secure, although the equipment required is generally too expensive for personal use.
Pierce & Tear Shredding – A more heavy duty approach to shredding, this technique allows for the destruction of card and plastics in addition to paper. Rotating blades are used to pierce and tear apart individual items, resulting in secure document destruction.
At Highlander Security Shredding, we can provide you with a comprehensive document destruction service designed to offer you total peace of mind and protection.
We offer a comprehensive document collection service where you can organise your files into office cabinets or wheeled bins to be collected. Alternatively we can provide you with our confidential waste bags. These are self sealing, incredibly durable and fully recyclable, designed to keep your documents safe until they’re shredded.
Once you’ve collected all your documents for destruction, you can then arrange a collection date with our team. Our operatives are all security vetted for your peace of mind, where our transportation vehicles are equipped with an alarm system and GPS tracking.
Once your documents arrive at our site, they will then be shredded to EN15713 standards, meaning that all your papers will be securely and safely handled. You will then be issued with an official Certificate of Destruction to guarantee that your documents have been properly taken care of.
All of our shreddings are finally transported to approved paper mills to be recycled. In addition to shredding, we also offer an additional paper recycling service, where we can collect corrugated packaging, newspapers and magazines for disposal. We offer a daily collection service so you can recycle your materials on a schedule that suits you.
So if you’re in need of a reliable and secure paper shredding service then get in touch with our team today and we’ll be happy to help.