If you’ve hired in the past year, which many businesses have, it’s important to know that you’re handling your applicant information correctly. There are several ways to properly destroy sensitive data and applicant information, but if you’re not sure you’ve done so, you could be making some big mistakes.
Here are our most recommended ways to properly handle and destroy sensitive data.
Whether you’re holding on to cover letters, applications, or candidate resumes, those hard copies take up a great deal of space and can be costly and time intensive to dispose of yourself. Simply throwing such material in the garbage or recycling bin exposes applicants to significant security threats, so while it does require an investment, such materials need to be disposed of in a way that completely removes the risk of a third party gaining access to sensitive information.
The three most complete forms of document disposal include pulping, burning, and most commonly, shredding.
Shredders are available to purchase in both personal and office capacities and are undoubtedly handy tools to have around the home and office. However, they can be impractical to use when destroying large quantities of documents. In fact, they can be inefficient, messy, and fail to protect the information contained within the documents you are looking to securely destroy. Which leads us to the next step of the process, incineration or pulping.
Incineration is simply the act of burning to completely destroy sensitive documents. Pulping breaks down fibers into a liquid slurry, then reusing the remaining material in post-consumer recycled content. It likely won’t surprise you that this process can be extremely time-consuming, requires access to an incinerator or another source of open flame, and is also illegal to perform in a certain city or residential areas. Frankly, if you have large amounts of hard copy documents you need to properly dispose of, the best choice is to work with a records management partner who understands the complexities of proper record disposal.
Managing Digital Records
When it comes to digital records, the disposal process can be much simpler, though it still needs to be done correctly to protect applicant privacy. While it might seem like less of a risk to applicants if you hold on to their application material in a digital file, it can add to your legal risk should you be involved in a data breach. Think carefully of what information you are collecting and storing, and make sure your candidates are aware of what you plan to do with that information. Document disposal for digital files requires less physical work than hard copies, but what you might think you have deleted off of a hard drive might still be discoverable given the right software programs.
The bottom line is that working with an experienced document management provider can be a real benefit to your company. It can save you time and money while protecting you and your applicants from highly damaging security breaches. To learn more about the services we offer to better manage your applicant information, contact the team at Happy Faces Records Management today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a records center, and why would I use one?
A commercial records center is a professional firm that specializes in the storage and security, management of and access to records/data. This is accomplished utilizing the latest technologies and proven records management practices.
Records management companies provide:
- Efficiency in terms of maximum use of space
- Detailed tracking and accurate information of every item stored
- Expedited retrieval and return, often faster than office staff can locate files themselves
- Confidentiality and protection against inappropriate access
- Compliance with numerous government regulations
- Documented process for destruction of records once they exceed mandated retention periods
- Cost based on actual usage is far less than utilizing self-storage facilities or expensive office space
What are retention policies, and how are they applied?
Retention policies are documented sets of rules for how long each record type must be retained before being eligible for destruction. Every industry has a different set of record types. HF Services maintains a default set of policies that will meet minimum requirements for state and federal regulations. In some cases, however, companies, management structure, or even insurance companies may require a more stringent set of retention policies. We rely on the customer to inform us of any retention policy that should be applied over and above our default.
Do you automatically destroy items once retention is met?
Once an item is scheduled for destruction based on its retention policy, we generate a report and present it to your records manager. Nothing is destroyed until a signed authorization is received by our office.
What do I need to do in order to prepare items for storage with HF Services?
It is quite simple. As a full service records center, the only thing you NEED to do is call our office, and alert us to the type and approximate quantity of files for storage. HF Services will arrive with the appropriate number of boxes at a time that is most convenient to your operation. IF this means arriving after normal business hours, then we will do so without a surcharge to you.
We will pull, box and categorize all items scheduled for transfer. Once back at our facility, each box/item will undergo our speedy intake process where we capture relevant data to properly index and account for attributes such as general description, destroy date, security levels, etc. Once this has been completed, the items are placed in their storage area until retrieval or destruction.
What is the cost for storage, and does the size of the box make a difference?
Box size will determine the total number of cubic footage you will require. Other factors such as boxes being over packed (such that the tops do not fit) can factor into the overall cost of storage. Costs are calculated based on a number of factors, including type of storage required, estimated activity and volume. In all cases, storage is based on how many cubic feet in terms of boxes, or linear feet in terms of open files, you store. Please call our management team at 770-414-9931 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk through our pricing options.