Safe Disposal of Physical Documents: Is your business practicing safe document disposal?


Businesses need to think beyond dustings when it comes to regular office cleanings. Documents and files need to be purged regularly to free up space on desks, in file cabinets, and storage rooms. It is important that these documents are disposed of correctly to avoid the risk of exposing confidential data. Improperly disposal can put your company, employees, and clients at risk for fraud, data breaches, identity theft, potential financial loss, and/or damage to your company’s reputation. Even if your company has moved to an electronic document management system, you still must consider how to properly dispose of old documents or the occasional newly printed document. Here are some tips to consider:

What to Keep, What to Dispose

Determine which documents need to be kept and for how long. Many businesses are required by law to keep some information for a minimum amount of time. Generally, business records should be kept for a minimum of seven years, but some documents may be kept for shorter, longer, or indefinite periods of time. Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for your industry to maintain compliance and allow your business to dispose of documents it no longer needs. Any documents containing personally identifiable information, such as driver’s license or social security numbers, or banking information such as PIN and direct-deposit/payment numbers, should be shredded, as well as receipts or papers that show signatures or credit card numbers.

Establish a “Shred All” Policy

Loose paper in recycling bins is generally unattended. This access to confidential information can be misplaced or stolen, leaving your organization vulnerable to potential security breaches. A “shred-all” policy for the disposal of all unneeded documents throughout your entire office minimizes potential risk or exposure.

Consider a Shredding Specialist

Another option is to hire a shredding specialist and establish a regular disposal schedule. Your business will place documents into secure, supplied boxes and the vendor will pick up, shred, and provide you with a certificate of destruction upon completion. Not all employees should have access to where these documents are stored prior to pickup. Limit the number of personnel allowed in this area to reduce the risk of an intentional or unintentional leak of information.

Make a commitment to regularly destroy your company’s documents to maintain confidentiality and minimize the possibility of identity theft and data breaches. To learn more about how to properly dispose of your business’ physical documents and how Superior Document Solutions can help, call us today at 678-389-3449.

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