A quarterly document purge is a great way for businesses to get on top of the sometimes literal pile of documentation that tends to collect through the regular course of business. While we all look to clear out the clutter and start fresh, balancing that with the need to keep files secure and accessible seems like a conflict. The question of how to declutter without putting your clients and your employees at risk is a real one. But the answer is relatively simple and lies in your document recycling and disposal process. Here’s what you should know before your document purge ends in you throwing everything out with the trash.
Keep Compliance in Mind
Not every document is safe to dispose of at will. 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.
Hard Copy Destruction
Despite advances in paperless productivity, most businesses still inevitably create a lot of printouts, 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. In order to protect yourself from sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, documents may be shredded (both horizontally and vertically so that reassembly is next to impossible), incinerated, or pulped so that no information is available to unauthorized viewers.
Recycle When You Can
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. Commercially shredded paper may be accepted by recycling companies. But that’s only so long as it is completely free of plastic and metal and contained within clear plastic bags. This is not appropriate for highly confidential documents, however. 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.
What About Digital Files?
The proper destruction of hard copy documents is only effective if the digital files 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.
Call us today for more guidance on how to clear your space and ensure your data is protected. We can help you prioritize sensitive document destruction and management in a responsible and efficient way. The security and convenience of a document management partner protect your company from security violations. Call today to talk with a representative.