Shredding Secrets: Different Shredder Security Levels Explained

Shredding documents is a part of any business. From old files to confidential papers, shredding is a must, but will a storebought paper shredder do the job and what do the different security levels mean?

P-1 Shredders

P-1 shredders are at the lowest level of security available. Papers are shredded into 12 mm strips. They are considered to be DIN Protection Class 1 for paper shredder security ratings.

P-2 Shredders

P-2 shredders are slightly higher with security, but not high enough for confidential information. They’re shredded into 6mm strips. They are also in the DIN Protection Class 1.

P-3 Shredders

P-3 shredders are the lowest level of security for confidential information. This level gives them a mid-level of security. They are cross-cut, rather than cut into strips that measure 320 mm by 0.5 mm. They’re considered DIN Protection Class 1 or 2.

P-4 Shredders

While P-4 shredders are a little better than P-3 shredders for security, they are still a mid-level of security. However, they are safer for confidential information, like HIPAA. They are cross-cut into pieces 160 mm by 6 mm. They are under the DIN Protection Class 2 or 3.

P-5 Shredders

P-5 shredders are a very high level of security. These shredders are micro-cut into pieces measuring 1.27 mm by 0.5 mm. They fall under the DIN Protections Class 2 or 3 and are suitable for destroying confidential HIPAA information.

P-6 Shredders

P-6 shredders are a very high level of security. They are micro-cut into 1 mm by 10mm pieces. They are part of DIN Protection Class 3. These shredders are ideal for top-secret information, including some HIPAA information and even up to US Army Reg. 380-5 information.

P-7 Shredders

P-7 shredders are the highest level of security, making them the best for top-secret information. This works for destroying confidential NSA information. They are micro-cut into 1mm by 1.5 mm pieces. They are considered to be a DIN Protection Class 3 as well.

Professional Paper Shredding

As the information above shows, there are different levels of security in paper shredding and your average run-of-the-mill store-bought paper shredder is not going to give you the same level of security that you would get from hiring a shredding company to take care of it for you.

And, while you can get a shredder at a higher security level, they tend to come with a higher price tag and can only shred a few documents at a time.

Hiring a professional document shredding company can save you time, money, and give you the peace of mind that all of your documents are properly shredded.

At Federal Records Management & Shredding, you can count on your confidential information staying safe from the point that it leaves your hands until it is destroyed. Your business’s sensitive information will never get the chance to be stolen.

Federal Records Management and Shredding offer both onsite and offsite destruction of your company’s confidential information and your discarded confidential information is stored securely in our locked bins at your business until we take them off your hands to destroy them.

Our offsite shredding mixes a company’s confidential documents with documents from other companies so there isn’t a chance that anyone would be able to reconstruct the documents.

Contact us today to make sure your sensitive information is destroyed in the most secure way possible.

3 Ways to Implement a Clean Desk Policy When Working From Home

A clean desk policy sounds pretty straight forward. It’s as simple as keeping your desk neat and tidy, right? In a sense, yes—but also no.

It’s actually the difference between ensuring workplace safety and creating trouble for not only yourself, but your job.

While many of us are working at home either temporarily or indefinitely due to COVID-19, it’s a good practice to continue using the clean desk policy when working from home.

Whether you’re at home or in the office, instilling a clean desk policy for yourself can save time and trouble. Here are three tips for implementing a policy, and making sure it stays in place.

What is a Clean Desk Policy?

A clean desk policy is a company’s directive to ensure that all confidential documents are cleared from their workspace at the end of the day and securely stored or placed in shredding bins.

It’s a great way to keep offices clutter-free and tidy as well as protecting secure data and documents.

The University of Cincinnati’s clean desk policy calls for employees to be diligent about storing sensitive and confidential information—whether on paper, storage media, or hardware.

The university’s policy states that employees should lock computers when their desk is unoccupied, and properly shut down at the end of the day.

Passwords, printouts, storage devices, keys, and even whiteboards containing “restricted or controlled documents” must be removed, erased, or placed in a locked drawer or compartment of some sort when not in use.

Restricted or controlled documents can be anything containing personal information, health records, financial data, or even graded papers if you’re a teacher.

What your business considers restricted or controlled documents will vary, but a clean desk policy ensures protection no matter what.

1. Create a System for Storing Documents

Having a records retention schedule is a great way to ensure you won’t build any clutter, especially when working from home.

Certain businesses have to keep records for a set amount of time. Even if this isn’t the case, you should create a system for retaining, storing, and destroying documents.

In your home, this could mean keeping a lockbox or filing cabinet near your desk to store documents. Once a week—or at the end of every workday—be sure to organize the records by category, or any system that fits your recordkeeping.

After a set amount of time (this will depend on how long you need to retain any documents), the documents may need to be moved or destroyed.

Creating a records retention schedule will keep all of that on track so you don’t have to think about it after your home office feels like a never-ending wall of documents.

2. Which Documents are Worth Keeping?

We’ve defined important work documents as anything containing personal information, health records, financial data, or anything relevant to your career.

But what about personal records? What’s worth keeping? Where should you keep them? How long should you keep those?

Important home documents worth keeping could include your passport, annual tax return (And receipts if you’re self-employed or a business owner!), birth certificate, will, social security cards… the list is never-ending.

Again, what you decide to keep is ultimately your choice, but you should keep the longevity of any documents you hold onto in mind.

3. Create a System for Shredding Documents

Disposing of documents may feel scary at first, but it’s necessary to manage your home office. A document destruction policy is just as important as a clean desk policy. Talk to your company to find out their document destruction policy. Should you bring documents into the office once a week or once a month to add to the shredding bin?

If you need help with records keeping, retrieval, and destruction, contact us today. We’ll help you implement a clean desk policy, as well as find you the best option for your home office or business.

What to Do with Checks After Mobile Deposits

While it may not be one of the most used forms of payment anymore, accepting checks at your business is a smart move. Checks have lower fees than credit card transactions, and they allow people to buy your products and services if they don’t have a credit card or cash on hand.

Technology today even allows you to deposit the checks without going to the bank. You can do this through mobile deposits. If you use this service, you may wonder what to do with the checks after depositing them. Learning the right way to handle these checks after depositing them is vital for your business.

Continue reading to find out what to do with checks after mobile deposits.

Keep the Checks for 30 Days After Making the Deposits

Even though you can instantly deposit a check through your bank’s mobile app, it may not be deposited into your account for days or weeks. 

The mobile deposited check will still need time for the check to clear, and some banks place holds on checks for a few days or weeks. 

It’s a good idea to hold on to the check for at least 30 days or until you’re sure that the check has cleared and the funds have been posted to your account.

While you wait for the check to clear, place the checks somewhere secure like your safe to protect them while you wait. Write “DEPOSITED” in big letters on the front of the check to avoid redepositing them or in case the check falls into the wrong hands. 

Keeping them longer than needed increases the risk of them falling into the wrong hands and puts your customers at risk for identity fraud or being out more money.

How to Safely Get Rid of Deposited Checks

After the checks have posted to your bank account, what should you do with these deposited checks? As with any banking document or anything with personal information, it should be securely destroyed.

Offsite shredding services provide a way to get rid of deposited checks safely. This service also helps to destroy other documents that contain sensitive, personal details.

A company that offers this service collects your documents and shreds them offsite with other documents making it impossible for anyone to put back together. 

What to Do With Checks After Mobile Deposits

Now that you know what to do with checks after mobile deposits, contact us to set up offsite shredding services of your mobile deposited checks and other confidential documents. 

Check out our website or give us a call to learn more about the services we offer.

Do You Know Long to Keep Employee Files After Termination?

Do you have some employee terminations but not sure how long you should keep the records?  The average person will have 12 different jobs in a lifetime, so at some point, you will most likely lose an employee either by termination or resignation.

There are rules you need to know when it comes to employee records and files. Keep reading to learn these guidelines on how long to keep employee files.

What Is Included in Employee Records?

Employee records contain information such as payroll records, benefits enrollment, medical records, personnel files, and also hiring information. Human resources typically keep the job-related materials and payroll records may be stored separately in the payroll department.

Information about the employee’s medical and health information is regulated with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) and needs to remain confidential.

How Long to Keep Hiring Records

You should save your hiring information for one year after you make a decision. This includes interview notes, applications, resumes, and job postings. This is needed in case anyone questions your hiring decision. 

Laws, such as Title VII and Americans with Disabilities Act, may require you to prove you were in compliance with your hiring. These documents will help you.

How Long Do You Have to Keep Employee Records on Payroll 

Law requires you to maintain and keep all payroll records for three years. You want to have a record of how much every employee was paid and how many hours each employee worked at your company. 

For exempt employees, you won’t need to maintain time records since pay is the same no matter how many hours the employee worked.

For non-exempt employees, be sure you keep a record of time worked as well. You also need to make sure he or she is labeled appropriately or you could owe additional compensation for overtime.

You also need to have information on how you calculated pay such as salary plus commission, set salary, overtime, hourly pay, or pay by project. You need this information for tax and pay questions but also an employee may need for FMLA eligibility.

If asked, you should be able to prove that you paid your employees appropriately for the hours worked even after the relationship was terminated.

How Long to Keep I-9 Forms

You should store and maintain employee I-9 Forms away from personnel records. You need to keep these forms for three years. 

You should have these in separate files in case the government requests to check them. Having this form separate from other personnel files will keep the employee’s other information private from other workers.

How Long to Keep Employee Files

The U.S. Equal Employment Commission (EEOC) requires a company to keep all employee records and personnel for at least one year after the termination date. These files include any information on:

  • Employee performance
  • Attendance notes
  • Emergency contact information
  • Acknowledgment of employee handbook
  • Resignation letter
  • Training records
  • Contact information
  • Employment contract
  • Exit interview
  • Any notes on disciplinary actions

These files are basically anything else related to the job but not medical information. 

Looking for Record Management or Shredding?

Now you have a basic idea of how long to keep employee files even after someone is no longer at your company. 

If you are looking for help with your record management or help to shred your documents after you no longer need them, contact us today.  We can help secure your documents for you. 

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

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!

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.