How to properly educate your team on document destruction when everyone is working from home

Hard copy records and files are often the biggest sources of vulnerable PPI that companies need to manage. That’s why document disposal is so critical to data security. But in the new work from home environment, how do you keep up with those proper document destruction processes when everyone is working remotely? Education is key. Here’s what your teams should be doing with those documents even when they’re not in the office.  

Hard Copy Destruction 

Despite advances in paperless productivity, most businesses still inevitably create a lot of print outs, hard copy documents, and records. The question of what to do when those documents no longer are needed becomes one of combined convenience and security. If your employees are printing out documents at home, they still need to comply with document destruction or disposal in order to protect your business from sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. The easiest way is likely to ensure employees continue to shred (both horizontally and vertically so that reassembly is next to impossible), documents so that no information is available to unauthorized viewers. Other forms of destruction such as incineration and pulping may not be practical in a home office environment.  


Your company’s records are a critical resource and their disposal requires 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. Make sure you know what regulations apply to your document destruction before you take any action.  


How do companies balance the need for security and their desire to become more environmentally sustainable? If you are not working with a professional document management service such as Happy Faces Records Management, your choices are limited. Shredded paper can be reused as packing material, but that also exposes companies to significant risk. Commercial shredded paper may be accepted by recycling companies so long as it is completely free of plastic and metal and contained within clear plastic bags. However, this is not appropriate for highly confidential documents as sensitive information may still be reconstructed, which can result in privacy violations and possible legal action. Make sure you are working with a high-quality document management company that takes on the responsibility of recycling for you, and who can help you address the challenges of balancing security protocols with a desire to be sustainable even when working from home.  

Digital Files 

The proper destruction of hard copy documents is only effective if the digital files associated with those documents are also destroyed properly. Simply deleting the files is not enough. Until that space has been written over, the possibility of recovering data still exists. Similar to shredding important paper documents, one way to ensure that your personal information is not easily accessed is by “shredding” of the individual files on the hard drive. There are a variety of software programs that can shred files, but it can be confusing to know which one is right for you. 

For more guidance on how to keep your data security high even in times of shelter in place orders, connect with the team at Happy Faces Records Management today.  


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