Maintaining clear and organized records is an important part of doing business, especially if you are dealing with contracts or PII (personally identifiable information) on a regular basis. But there inevitably comes a time when archiving those records becomes an unnecessary burden. Disposing of old and unnecessary physical documents can be quite a process. And if your employees don’t know the drill, chances are they’re doing it wrong with the very best of intentions. Recycling for example, while good for the environment, may not be good for your business in every instance.
The truth is that there is so much more to secure document disposal than simply throwing them in the recycling bin. That’s where shredding can come in as a balanced approach to protecting sensitive information and considering the environment at the same time. Here’s how you can make sure you are disposing of your documents properly while maintaining critical business security at the same time.
The Importance of Proper Record Disposal
Your company’s records are a key resource and their disposal takes the proper investment of time and resources to ensure your compliance with federal and state regulations as well as ensuring the security of your employee’s and client’s information. Poor record disposal can result in security breaches, loss of confidential information, and lost privacy. Failing to heed security related laws and regulations can result in costly fines or even imprisonment.
There are several ways to fully dispose of business records when the time comes. Simply throwing such material in the garbage or recycling bin exposes your company to significant security threats. Such materials need to be disposed of in a way that completely removes the risk of third-party gaining access to sensitive information. The three most complete forms of document disposal include pulping, burning, and most commonly, shredding.
Shredding is the most well-known of the paper disposal methods. 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 are impractical for use with larger amounts of physical copies and records amassed by most companies. In such cases, they are often inefficient, messy, and don’t provide the level of security necessary for complete peace of mind. Shredded paper can be reconstructed making the security of the disposal method incomplete without the accompaniment of an additional disposal method such as incineration or pulping.
Pulping is essentially a process that breaks down the fibers of the documents into a liquid slurry before reusing the remaining material in the creation of post-consumer recycled content products. Pulping can be done after shredding takes place to make all information completely irretrievable. This method involves submerging your records into bleach or bleach-like chemical that breaks down the fibers of the paper and destroys the colorants of ink, completely removing the information that was originally present on the documents. The remaining material is then blended and dried for further disposal.
Clearly, there are advantages of enlisting the help of a records management specialist such as Happy Faces Records Management in the disposal of business records. We are able to provide flexible and secure document disposal methods that meet the needs of your company and take the pain out of document management.