Identity theft is one of the top consumer complaints. According to the Federal Trade Commission, American consumers lost billions to fraud in 2013 as a result of identity theft. Businesses are held to several regulatory requirements in order to limit a customer’s risk. These regulations consist of very strict guidelines to protect sensitive customer or patient information through proper disposal of documents containing consumer information.
Protecting consumer and patient information is not only a good business practice, it’s the law. Even if you hire a shredding company to destroy your confidential information, businesses are still liable if a consumer’s identity is stolen as a result of negligence that is associated with the business. However, identity theft isn’t the only threat facing businesses. Information security measures are important for protecting trade secrets, keeping private matters private and protecting patient/personnel information.
To protect a business’ integrity and liability, it’s important to hire a shredding company that adheres to the following:
When trusting a company to dispose of sensitive information properly, sound ethics is important. Is the shredding company accredited or affiliated with any member organizations that hold high security standards? Being licensed and bonded is critical, as well.
Organizations like the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) offers standards for security and excellence. The highest security rating is AAA certified. The NAID is the standards setting body for the information destruction industry. The organizations also performs comprehensive scheduled and unannounced audit programs to ensure that member companies are meeting numerous laws and regulations that protect confidential customer information.
Like most companies, background checks are imperative. The shredding company you select should conduct pre-hire and annual background investigations, drug testing and secure shredding policy training to safeguard sensitive information. This screening process verifies that no individual with a known history of related crimes will be handling confidential material.
A reputable shredding company will offer proof of accountability, such as cameras in all their mobile shredding trucks to record the shredding process and ensure that all documents are destroyed. Providing opportunities for a company to witness the shredding process also provides peace of mind.
When you hire a shredding service, on-site shredding is the most secure because sensitive data doesn’t leave a company’s location without being destroyed first. However, in order to eliminate possible security leaks, a shredding company should provide a company with secure, lock-able containers to store documents before they are shredded. This keeps documents secure from the time they are discarded through the time of destruction.
After each shredding process, a reputable shredding company should provide the customer with a certificate of destruction for their records.
Identity theft unfortunately continues to rise and corporations face stringent information protection regulations. Noncompliance may result in fines, lawsuits and federal and state legal enforcement action. When hiring a document destruction company, price should not be the sole factor on which a decision is based. Not all shredding companies are created equal. Ensuring your shredding company has the proper security measures in place to mitigate any integrity or liability issues will save your business time and money, and most important its reputation.