What Harm Can Putting a Document in a Recycling Bin Really Cause?

The answer to that question is quite a lot actually. As digital security becomes more of a concern, don’t forget that hard copy documents can also be a source of critically damaging data leakage. Human error is the top cause of data loss. And unless your employees know the best practices for recycling, storing, and destroying documents, they can easily become another statistic.

Here are three tips to help your team keep your data safe, and your docs out of the recycling bin.

Have a Standard Process

The first step toward ensuring the proper removal and destruction of sensitive documents is having a standardized process that employees can follow. This process should be documented and enforced to make sure everyone in the office knows what to do and how to do it. You really can’t expect your team to know what the proper procedure is unless you take the time to make that information available and concrete enough to follow.   

Teach the Team

The most likely place for criminals to find sensitive documents that are not effectively disposed of is in the recycling bin. Ironically, many employees who throw out sensitive documents often mean well. They want to keep the planet clean and green, and likely don’t even know they have made a mistake. The best way to avoid this is to educate your team. Teach them the difference between sensitive and non-sensitive documents. What is ok to throw out with the recycling, and what requires a more thoughtful disposal?

Even when processed through a recycling facility, that information contained within your sensitive documents is at risk. What a secure document destruction process really looks like is this:

  • Documents that are identified as sensitive are placed in a secure console or container located in the workplace.
  • These containers are then transported by security professionals to a sensitive document destruction site, where they are securely destroyed.
  • Proof of destruction is then provided to the company to ensure that all sensitive information has been disposed of properly.

Explain the Risks

An important element in a successful process is getting the buy-in of your employees. When you are confident that they are following the correct procedure, you will be in a much better position when it comes to complying with privacy laws, and of course protecting your data. It’s good to provide ongoing training to employees about the latest procedures and privacy regulations to make sure everyone has the information they need to do their best on the job. They need to be aware of what does and doesn’t constitute protected documents and sensitive information. For example, anything with personal information, such as name, address, account numbers, and so on, is considered a sensitive document. Less obvious documents that should also be protected include resumes, applications, pay stubs, shipping labels, agendas, and even post-it notes.

The fact is that sensitive information can be contained within a wide variety of common office documents. To make sure your team is making the right decisions, connect with the experts at Happy Faces Records Management today.

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