Home Office Safety Tips: 4 Tips for Protecting Confidential Documents When Working From Home

In 2017, around 8 million people worked from home. That figure has continued to rise, especially now, with more employees working from home during the pandemic.

While working from home has a lot of advantages, there are also some disadvantages. If you work from home and have access to your company’s data, it can make you vulnerable. Your privacy can be unprotected and the company’s confidential documents could be at risk. 

There is, however, a way to make your home office safer and protect confidential documents. If you want to learn about office safety tips you can take at home, keep reading to learn more ways to keep your company’s data and your privacy safe.

Protect Your Network

Your home router should have encryption so outsiders can’t hack your network. 

Encryption with the options of a WPA3 and a WPA2 on your router gives you some security in your home. It protects your internet and what files you store from your company on your personal internet. 

Keep Your Belongings Safe

Home office safety tips also include keeping your belongings safe. That essentially means not being careless of where you keep your laptop or the files you take home from the office. 

These confidential company documents might be for your eyes only, which makes it even more important that you keep them in a spot where people won’t see them but also where they won’t get damaged. 

Use a Company-Wide Storage System

Another home office safety tip is to work with the company on creating a DropBox or OneDrive storage system. 

You can find software that helps keep documents organized and protected. Instead of saving documents on your device, which is not always the safest place, you can save it on software that is designed to protect and organize files. 

Follow Protocols

If you recently started working from home, you may not be inclined to follow company rules because nobody is watching you. 

However, it’s even more important that you follow the company protocols when it comes to protecting company documents are disposing of them. Your home office is essentially an extension of the company office you work at. 

You should follow a protocol to avoid any security breach that could put you or your company in jeopardy. 

Home Office Safety Tips Can Protect Your Job and Your Company’s Data

These home office safety tips can help you not only protect your belongings and the data of your company, but it can also help you increase your productivity.

You’ll feel more organized and secure knowing you have security at home. 

When the company’s data is violated because of the lack of security measures in your home, it can cost you your job and the company a major financial loss. Having security measures in place can prevent this from ever happening. 

For more information on securing documents, you can contact us here

Our COVID-19 Response Plan

covid-19 update

With the Shelter in Place order issued by Governor Holcomb going into effect at midnight tonight, we wanted to keep our customers up-to-date on our operations during the COVID-19 shutdown.

We know that many of our clients will still have confidential information through this time and our objective remains to keep your corporate information safe through confidential records management and destruction services.

In an effort to keep our clients and employees safe, we have made the following necessary operational changes.

Records Management Services

We know the files and boxes we store for you are essential to the operation of your critical business and medical facilities. We will continue to take requests for file and box deliveries however we will not be picking up new files or boxes during the shut-down period.

We have instructed our staff to frequently sanitize all supplies, containers, and trucks and will practice safe social distancing in order to keep everyone safe.

Shredding Services

Shredding service is limited, please email lfritz@federal-recordsmanagement.com or call (260) 267-9652 regarding your individual business. We will return your call within 24-48 hours.

Drop-Off Shredding Services

We will not be accepting drop off shredding until the mandatory shut-down period has lifted

Shred Events

All shred events have been canceled through June 1st and we will re-evaluate this service at that time.

Stay Safe During the COVID-19 Shutdown

If your employees are working from home, please remind them that the safety of their documents is always critical and ask them to store any printed papers or notes in a bag or box at their home. Once they are able to return to work they can bring them to your office and place the contents into our shred containers.

We will continue to closely monitor developments and recommendations from the CDC and our state and local governments and take appropriate measures as needed.

We wish all of our clients good health and appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this uncertain time.

Why Should You Use Offsite Document Shredding?

Are you considering whether to use offsite document shredding? Each year in the United States, 7-10 percent of the population falls victim to identity theft. A major way that a thief can access personal information is by going through documents that aren’t discarded safely.

You can protect your business and customers from being victims of identity theft by using an offsite shredder.

Read on to learn why you should use this service and how it can improve your business.

Benefits of Offsite Shredding

Offsite document shredding will benefit your business in many different ways. By using a professional offsite document shredder, you reduce the risk that documents with sensitive personal information end up in the hands of the wrong person.

The documents you want to shred will go in a secure bin or other containers where they will be picked up and shredded securely.

Offsite document shredders also help you keep your office clean.

Instead of having documents pile up on your desk and around your office, you can keep those documents in one place. This will keep your business running more efficiently!

Uses AAA Certified Professionals

The best document shredding services employ experienced AAA certified professionals.

At Federal Records Management & Shredding, we are the only AAA NAID certified shredding company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. NAID which stands for the National Association for Information Destruction sets the standard for secure data destruction.

Only 1,000 service providers on five continents hold the NAID’s AAA Certification. Companies that hold this certification are compliant with all known data protection laws where they operate.

Hiring a shredding service with the NAID AAA certification will give your company peace of mind that it is employing only the best in the industry.

Keeps Your Company Compliant

Being compliant with the rules and regulations governing the handling of sensitive information is crucial to your success.

Violating the safe-keeping of sensitive information can result in thousands of dollars in fines to your business. Depending on the size of your company, these fines can be detrimental to the continuous operation of your business.

An offsite document company knows the rules and regulations that govern the handling of secure information. In today’s fast-paced business world, these laws can change often.

By employing a professional shredding company, your business can focus on customers. You won’t have to spend time and money learning about an area outside of its expertise.

Wrapping Up: The Importance of Offsite Document Shredding

An offsite document shredding company can help your business guard against the threat of someone else recovering sensitive and secure information.

Federal Records Management & Shredding is your #1 source for shredding and document retention in the Fort Wayne area! We offer secure shredding on- and off-site, while also handling document retention and storage.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your business!

Paper File Organization for 2020: Understanding What Documents to Purge or Keep

Now that we’re into the second decade of the millennia, there’s no excuse for your office to look like it’s stuck in the ’80s. Nothing tells customers you’re out of touch or disorganized more than piles of paperwork strewn about.

Even in the age of the internet, physical paperwork still has its place among lots of businesses. You can still present yourself as a modern and up to date office while relying on physical documents. The key is having an efficient paper file organization method.

If you’re ready to take the plunge and get organized in 2020, read on for some tips on how to get your business to where you want it to be.

Create a Paper File Organization System

Your office likely already has a process on how to handle the paperwork it receives. It’s also pretty likely that a lot of employees have their own variations on that process, which can clog up the flow.

Create a clear and concise procedure on how to handle paperwork, including time frames each step should be done. It may take a while to get your team on board, but a successful procedure is made not in the planning stage but the consistent implementation stage.

Consider how you’re storing all these documents as well. Are they easily accessible to those who most often would need to access it? Are they well organized within the storage containers you’re using?

Different types of paperwork might require different methods of organization. Let your team know that this is a trial and error process and that their feedback is helpful in determining the right adjustments to make.

Stick to a Records Retention Schedule

As you’re organizing paper documents, keep the future in mind. The last thing you want is to revert back into the mess you’re trying to work yourself out of. Create a retention schedule based on how your business tracks time (yearly, quarterly, seasonally) to review what should be archived or destroyed.

Once you work out what this long term schedule looks like, make sure it’s viewable by your team. They should be able to anticipate these milestones so they can prepare for them. Send reminders as well. Once the schedule becomes an office habit, you’ll see an increase in productivity.

How to Dispose of Your Documents

Once you know which documents need to go, the best solution is to shred them. The permanency of this can be a little scary at first, but having a clean office without documents you will never need is a great benefit.

There are different options for shredding, including offsite shredding for larger volumes of paperwork. There are also a lot of myths surrounding how paper shredding works in an office setting. Make sure you’re well informed before you make a decision on what works best for your business.

You might also want to consider destroying electronic data as well. Hackers are constantly evolving their methods to obtain personal information on your customers. The best way to avoid a catastrophe is permanently deleting any information that isn’t immediately pertinent to your workflow. You can’t rob an empty vault.

Get Your Business Organized Today

Remember to consult with your employees concerning your paper file organization ideas. They may have some insight into things you haven’t considered. The point is to make things easier on them so they can better do their jobs.

What organization methods have you used in the past that are obsolete now? How have other facets of business in your industry adapted over time? Comment and let us know!

And if you’re interested in records management or shredding for your business, request a quote today.

5 Common Paper Shredding Myths Businesses Believe

The introduction of FACTA and HIPAA legislation has created a surge in demand for the destruction of data. With data compliance laws breathing down your neck, shredding is more important than ever.

However, it’s not just enough to keep a shredder in the office for when you think you will need it. When considering what shredding is actually good for, you need to be able to debunk the myths surrounding it.

Here are five common shredding myths that way too many businesses still believe.

Myth No.1: No One Will Go Through My Trash

This is one of those myths that just won’t die. Too many businesses don’t even think about when and where to shred documents, as they assume they aren’t important enough for someone to go through their trash.

This is missing the point entirely. People can and do go through all kinds of business trash with alarming regularity.

They will be looking for personal and financial information that they can use for identity fraud and theft. No business is safe and it only takes one data breach to ruin your company.

Myth No.2: My Employees Will Shred Everything

In a perfect world, all of your employees would shred papers whenever necessary. However, when your team has a lot of work on their plate, shredding rarely takes center stage.

If you don’t have a proper paper shredding service or system in place, documents will inevitably pile up. The result is that the things that need to get shredded will slip through the net.

Myth No.3: Shredding Isn’t Necessary for My Business

When considering where to shred paper, too many people assume it only applies to businesses that deal with medical data or banking information. This is wrong.

FACTA and HIPPAA affect virtually every business in the United States in some way. Any data you have relating to a person or finances needs to get shredded. No ifs, no buts.

Myth No.4: My Business Data is Automatically Protected by Law

If you’re concerned about corporate privacy, don’t get complacent. Too many business leaders assume that the Corporate Espionage Act means they will always be covered if secrets are stolen.

However, this Act only applies to information that the company treats as a secret. If you haven’t shredded important documents and they get stolen, they weren’t being treated as secretive in the eyes of the law.

A secure shred policy is the only way to guarantee that your secrets are protected both physically and legally.

Myth No.5: Having a Shredder Means I am Compliant

It really does bear repeating that simply having a shredder in your office does not make you compliant with HIPAA or FACTA. Even routine shredding is no guarantee of compliance and many store-bought shredders don’t shred documents fine enough.

If you want an airtight policy, your best bet is to use a professional shredding service that can provide a certificate of destruction. This way you will always be covered in the eyes of the law.

Learn More

Debunking shredding myths is the first step towards security and compliance. To learn more about how to do shredding right, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our professional team today to make sure your confidential business documents are protected.

Stay On Time, and On Top of Data, With a Records Retention Schedule! Here’s How to Make One

With the advancement in technology, the amount of paper documents a business maintains has decreased. Maintaining paper records is still important due to concerns regarding system failures and lost data. And, companies are required to keep certain records for set periods of time.

It’s easy to get into the habit of storing records in back offices and warehouses. Over time boxes accumulate and you start storing them in areas designated for other uses. Having a records retention schedule is important and a way to end the overaccumulation of documents.

By having a schedule, your business is intentional when it comes to securely destroying documents that you no longer need.

Does your business need a records retention policy? Keep reading for tips on helping your business manage its records.

What is Records Retention?

Records retention is the act of preserving documents and records generated by a business. Each industry has its own guidelines on which records need to be saved and which can be destroyed.

For example, most business records should be retained for a minimum of seven years. There are some records such as deeds and mortgages that should never be destroyed.

Records are often kept in file cabinets and boxes. If you have a lot of documents and documents that you will maintain indefinitely, you may want to consider hiring a records management company. They’ll store your important documents, saving you space while leaving you with the peace of mind that you can easily access them when needed.

Key Steps to Creating a Records Retention Schedule

Creating a records retention schedule has multiple layers that will touch each area of your business. Whether it’s accounting records, payroll, or purchasing, a schedule needs to be devised for each area.

Compliance

Part of running a business includes being aware of compliance regulations that affect your industry. Rules for record retention can vary between healthcare, banking, card processing, and human resources-related businesses.

You’ll want to review records retention rules in advance of creating a schedule.

Develop a Team

Your business may have multiple departments. Create a team with a representative from each area. This way you are not creating a one size fits all solution. Your records retention schedule needs to be specific to each department. In addition, you want each department in compliance with the schedule.

Review of Records

In cases where you’re implementing a policy for the first time, creating an inventory of existing documents is important. Understand what you have on hand and where it’s stored.

While doing your inventory, prepare non-essential records for your first document destruction appointment.

Creating a Policy

With your team in place and all compliance regulations understood, create a records retention policy. This is a document outlining rules for retention and paper shredding. The policy is distributed to all personnel along with the newly created records retention schedule.

We Can Keep Your Records Safe

Having a records retention schedule helps your business in many ways. Most importantly, you are in compliance with industry standards. If you need help creating and implementing your Records Retention Policy, contact us. Our team of specialists can help your company develop a schedule and destroy data when needed.

Shredding Paper: 5 Common Paper Shredding Mistakes to Avoid

Paperwork is scattered around your desk and your filing cabinet is about to burst. Some of your documents may be recent but a lot of them date back to a year ago or further. This is a huge paper shredding mistake.

Anyone from interns, cleaning staff, or other employees can access your office and see all sorts of confidential information that you’ve neglected to do away with. This is a pretty common mistake too and one that business owners make when it comes to shredding paper.

There are plenty of other mistakes that you need to avoid. Keep reading to see what they are so you can keep your business information secure.

1. Not Having a Document Shredding Policy

Have you told all of your employees what they should be doing with old, outdated documents? Have you written up a document destruction policy of any kind? Old documents can’t be done away with if your workers don’t know what to do with them.

For every minute your confidential documents sit around you’re risking identity theft and business fraud. Write up a policy and give each of your employees a copy or hold a business meeting and go over it with them. Need help? Our professional document shredders can help you develop your Document Destruction Policy and help train your staff.

2. Hoarding Old Documents

How many expired documents do you have sitting around in your office or filing cabinet? If the answer is more than a handful you need to sort through them and do away with them immediately.

Hoarding documents has its share of security risks. Anyone can break-in and if they do then they now have access to confidential information.

3. Shredding With Your Office Shredder

Yes, you need to get rid of your documents but you shouldn’t do so with your personal office shredder. Personal paper shredders have their limits. As it says in the manual, they need to “rest after 30 minutes of us.” So while you’re waiting you’re not only wasting your time, but that’s even more time that you’re confidential documents are left laying around.

Plus, most store-bought paper shredders can only shred around 10-15 sheets of paper at a time. Any more and you’re dealing with a paper jam.

Also, storebought shredders don’t shred the paper fine meaning that although it won’t be easy, anyone can pull shreds of paper out of the trash bin and piece them back together.

Time is money, stop wasting it by spending countless hours shredding your confidential documents.

4. You Have Bad Paper Recycling Habits

We know that you want to try to help the environment, but throwing your confidential documents, shredded or not, in the recycling bin is a bad idea. Any thief worth their salt can grab documents out of the recycling bin. Again, even if you shred them someone who is seriously dedicated can piece them back together and read them.

5. Not Using a Certified Shredding Provider

All of the examples above can be solved if you use a certified shredding provider to do the job. They can shred, and recycle your old documents in the most confidential manner possible.

When shredded, your documents are combined with documents from other companies. There’s no chance that anyone would be able to piece together finely shredded material from multiple sources.

Make sure that whatever company you go through for this service is NAID AAA Certified.

It’s Possible to Mess Up Shredding Paper

It is possible for you to mess up when shredding paper in your small business. If you use an office shredder and toss the pieces in the bin,  thieves can get in and get access to your confidential information. Protect your company by following these tips and using a certified shredding provider instead. For a small monthly fee, you can keep your documents safe and not have to spend hours shredding them yourself.

Do you need the pile of documents on your desk shredded? Contact us to get a free estimate on our document shredding services.

Why Every Business Needs a Records Retention Policy

In only the first half of 2018, data breaches comprised 4.5 billion records. 56% were stolen from outsiders. 9% was due to accidental loss.

While most of us don’t think about the documents, both paper and electronic, we create, if you’re a business owner, not having a records retention policy could cause you a lot of problems.

Creating a corporate document policy has a lot of benefits. You shouldn’t be saving everything nor should you fail to retain certain records.

If you’re wondering why you need to implement document retention policy best practices in your office, keep reading. We’re sharing with you a few reasons to adopt an information retention policy today.

A Records Retention Policy is Required in Certain Industries

Certain industries are bound by laws to comply with state and federal privacy laws regarding how long certain documents should be kept. Destroying records before that time can result in hefty penalties.

Also, in certain industries, you may need to retain certain records in order to defend your business against other claims. Make sure your business is complying with current and new regulations regarding document retention.

Saves Money and Time

It costs money to maintain records you no longer need. It also costs money if your business is named in a lawsuit and you no longer have access to the records you need to prove your case.

Having too much clutter also costs your business valuable time and energy when employees can’t locate vital documents. Clutter decreases productivity and increases depression and anxiety.

It also costs money to store old files you no longer legally need whether you keep it in your office, filing cabinets, cloud storage or hard drives.

Keeps Your Records Secure

It’s not always readily apparent if your records have been hacked or stolen. And unfortunately, 70% of attacks are on small businesses. 60% of those hacked businesses went under after six months.

Creating a documentation policy should always include taking measures to ensure your records remain safe. And there should be a policy that includes safety measures for both hard copies and digital.

Make sure security is your number one priority and include it as a part of employee training. It should also become a standard part of your workplace’s process. It’s easier to prevent theft when everyone at your company is on the lookout.

Improving Efficiency

Creating a policy on where and how long to save documents helps you develop an organizational system for storing, retrieving, and record-keeping. Doing so makes it easier for everyone to locate and retrieve the information they need more quickly.

Documents are less likely to go missing. Implementing such a policy also ensures that expired documents are instantly flagged.

Part of the document retention policy should include how documents are destroyed. You can’t throw confidential information in the trash. Instead, find ways to securely destroy old documents to thwart would-be thieves.

How to Safely Destroy Documents

The best and safest way to destroy hard copies of documents is to shred them. However, your basic office shredder won’t be able to handle such a large job. Nor do you want to have to appoint an employee to handle all the shredding of confidential documents. And you also don’t want to leave one employee in charge of securely destroying all your digital information.

Instead, appoint an employee to contact a professional records management company. They can safely, quickly, and securely destroy all your old documents — paper and electronic.

Contact Us to Keep Your Records Safe

We can help you implement a working records retention policy and we’re here when you need us to destroy digital and hard copies safely.

Click here to contact us to find out how we can help.

A Guide on how to Manage Hospital’s Paper Documents

Keeping up with hospital documents can be a big deal. First of all, you have a ton of different files from many different patients. Add in the fact that each and every one of those files is confidential and it’s not hard to see how problematic it can be.

It can seem like a difficult challenge to keep up with all of the papers in the hospital, but what exactly can you do to make it easier? It’s not like the papers are just going to stop flowing in or make themselves easier to manage.

Luckily, there are ways for hospitals to manage paper documents that you can incorporate into your office routine. Keep reading this article to find out what you can do to make it happen.

How Hospitals Manage Their Paper Documents

There are more ways to handle your healthcare documents than you think. Here are just a few things that you can do to make your life easier.

Incorporate a Document Management System

One of the best things that you can do for your office is to incorporate a document management system to help you keep track of your files. Doing so will make it easier to organize and file all of the hospital information.

It can be difficult to keep track of things manually, and searching and placing files take time out of your workday. That can all change when you have a management system do it for you.

With the management system, you will have an automatic means to track your files and make sure they are sorted out, so you know that the job is done right the first time.

Set a Timer

Setting a timer is another good thing that you can do. One of the easiest ways to lose track of your records is to not have a set time when you dispose of them. This can lead to you losing track of the archived data in your system.

Doing something as simple as setting a turnaround time for when you discard your old data can remove the hassle of having documents that are months or even years old cluttering up your space.

Train New Hires

You don’t have time to deal with all of the filing yourself. That’s why you should get new hires to do it for you.

With people working on a dedicated task, you can be sure they will document the files properly and make sure that everything is in order. The best part is that the job can be done with little effect on your budget.

We Can Help

Taking care of your files can be a hassle, no matter how verse you might be. That’s why we would love to help you out with handling your documents.

We help the government, private businesses, and hospitals manage paper documents through the use of shredders, hard drive disposal, and teaching safe disposal practices so we can help you to take care of the files you need destroyed.

Ready to get started? Give us a call. We look forward to helping you soon.

5 Essential Strategies to Heighten Customer Data Protection

Did you know that it’s your responsibility as a company to safeguard customer information?

Inside threats are some of the most significant threats to security in an organization. An employee or other stakeholders may breach data either intentionally or unintentionally. Protecting customer information doesn’t need to be a challenge.

Customer data is a valuable resource and businesses should be smart when handling crucial data to avoid losing it or exposing it to third parties.

In 2016, there was a data breach at Uber after hackers accessed private information for millions of customers. The company used over $140 million in compensation. The incident damaged the firm’s reputation for failure to protect data.

Most recently, Equifax and Capital One both experienced data breaches that exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of customers. You may be wondering, if these large businesses can’t protect customer data, how can I?

In this guide, discover quick strategies to heighten your business customer data protection plan.

1. Educating your Employees

Research has shown that most data breaches are caused by employees unintentionally. Ignorance among employees is dangerous and the management should ensure that they are well-informed about various measures to protect customer data.

The education program should include information about how to properly store and dispose of confidential documents

2. Keeping Technology Up to Date

If you keep electronic documents, keeping technology up to date is an essential step for any organization that values the security of its customer data. Ensure that all devices have the latest anti-virus software and all users should be educated about the need to allow recommended virus updates.

3. Access to Customer Data

Not every employee needs access to your customer’s or employee’s personal information. Keep access to sensitive customer information limited to those who need it to perform their job duties. The fewer people who have access to data, the fewer opportunities for a breach.

4. Destroy Data No Longer Needed

Knowing how and when to destroy documents and data will help ensure your customers, employees, and businesses personal information stays safe. Determine how and when to destroy digital and paper documents and stay up to date with Data Disposal Laws.

Different professions have different requirements under the Data Disposal Laws. Make sure you follow the best practices of your industry.

Develop guidelines and policies for data retention inside your business to handle the storage and destruction of documents and data.

5. Work With a Professional

Customer data is a valuable resource for all firms. Businesses should safeguard it using all possible measures as failure to do so can damage an organization’s reputation and lead to huge losses.

Working with a professional company such as Federal Records Management & Shredding in Fort Wayne, IN is one of the best ways to protect confidential documents and data. Professional Records Management companies can help train employees on how to handle your customer’s and your businesses personal information as well as help you set data retention policies.

Simply deleting data or using store-bought shredders isn’t enough. A professional destruction company can help you make sure that your files are properly destroyed.

Need help protecting your businesses sensitive information? Contact us today to learn more about our records management, hard drive destruction, and on-site and off-site shredding services.