Why Shred Documents? The Benefits of Shredding

Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? If so, you know what a huge hassle it is – not to mention how unsettling it is to have your privacy invaded. If you haven’t, you definitely don’t want to experience it. That’s why it’s important to shred documents that have any of your personal information on them.

Identity Theft Is No Joke

The FTC estimates that recovering from identity theft takes an average of six months and 200 hours of work. That means victims will spend about a total of 200 hours making phone calls, writing correspondence, keeping track of creditors, responding to letters, working with credit bureaus and law enforcement agencies, and taking any other actions required to ensure they won’t be liable for debts falsely created in their names. And in 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud. This was a record high number that the record set the year before. So it’s clear that this is a problem that’s not going away any time soon.

Of course, unless you’re living under a rock, you can’t be completely safe from identity theft. But making the effort to shred important documents will greatly improve the chances that you won’t be a victim of this latest crime.

Shred Documents to Provide Peace of Mind

Of course, you want to get rid of documents with your personal information. This includes ANYTHING with your full name and address, home or work telephone numbers, and/or driver’s license number.

Some documents you may not have considered are:

  • Tax returns (over three years old)
  • Bank statements
  • Canceled or voided checks
  • Pay stubs
  • Convenience checks

Also, keep in mind that identity thieves don’t care whose identity they’re stealing. If they happen upon your child’s Social Security number, it’s fair game. So be sure to shred any mail concerning your children, such as their medical records, copies of birth certificates, school applications, report cards and even permission slips you’ve authorized for field trips.

And finally, don’t forget about junk mail. The computer barcodes on the front of most junk mail could contain personally identifying information. So run your junk mail through the shredder. This includes mail from insurance companies/lenders or any membership organizations, as well as credit card offers and any return envelopes that come with these mailings.

Shredding Is Environmentally Friendly

Beyond just the security measures you’re taking for yourself in putting all of those documents through the shredder, you’re taking additional security measures for the planet. Shredding your paper waste is going to be easier to recycle. And since paper can be recycled up to seven times and still be used, this means considerably less cutting down of trees.

Plus, all the excess waste created from simply throwing away paper just causes the landfills to fill up faster.

Are You a Target?

The truth is, anyone with a social security number is a target for identity thieves. But if you shred documents with important information, they’re far less likely to catch up with you.

Don’t worry. If it all feels too overwhelming, then contact us today to learn more about our secure off-site and on-site document shredding services for business or check out our free shred events for personal use. Stay safe.

A Simple Guide to Understanding Shredder Security Levels

Not all shredders are created equally. Instead, there are a number of different factors which go into making sure that your record destruction meets certain standards. When you’re trying to discover which shredder is right for destroying paperwork from your business then you’ll need to understand shredder security levels.

Read on and we’ll explain exactly what you need to know so you can stay in compliance with modern standards.

Which Shredder Security Level Do I Need?

Before we get into the requirements for each level of security, it’s important to understand that not everyone needs something which is going to meet the highest security standards. But, wouldn’t you want to make sure that all of the documents you’re getting rid of are properly destroyed?

You may think “I’m just disposing of some old records with no personal information, I don’t really need NSA level security.” Which may be true, but if it’s worth shredding, it’s worth shredding properly.

Paper shredders which operate at level 4 are enough for most commercial uses, although those who handle a lot of sensitive information may want to go with a level 5 paper shredder instead.

FACTA compliance is a big issue for many companies since all consumer information now requires a high level of protection. A level 4 shredder is the bare minimum which can be used for disposing of this information.

Shredder Security Levels

Currently, the code for security levels is covered under DIN 66399. This European standard has been adopted stateside, although there are some slight deviations put in place by the NSA for top secret documents.

The levels in place are the following:

Level 1

Level 1 shredding is mostly used just to get paper out of the way. It’s suitable for much of the paperwork which comes through an office and doesn’t carry any sensitive information.

Old brochures and the like are commonly shredded at this level.

Level 2

Level 2 shredders can be used to dispose of slightly sensitive internal communications. Memos, forms without personal information, out-of-date instructions, or travel guidelines are good examples of documents which should be shredded in compliance with this level.

Level 3

Sales reports, receipts, and other financial information which doesn’t contain personal identifying information can be handled with a level 3 shredder. These aren’t HIPAA or FACTA compliant, however.

Level 4

The first level of shredding which is compliant with HIPAA and FACTA standards. All customer personal identifying information should be handled with at least a level 4 shredder in order to assure security.

Level 5

Level 5 shredders are probably the highest standard in common commercial usage. They should be considered if you’re planning on disposing of strategic paperwork for your company, competitor analysis, and other information which can be used in corporate espionage.

Level 6

Often used in healthcare and financial environments for a blanket level of security, level 6 shredders are able to handle some of the most sensitive information. At this level of shredding it’s extremely unlikely that someone will be able to reproduce the papers even with state-of-the-art technology.

Level 7

The highest standard currently in place is level 7. It’s used primarily by government entities like the NSA in order to ensure that even the most sensitive and dangerous information can’t be reproduced.

While some of the higher level shredders may help destroy your documents, high-security shredders tend to be slower and can interrupt the workflow in your place of business. Instead, why not save yourself time and money by choosing a document shredding service

Picking a Shredding Service

Fortunately, you don’t have to keep track of all of this if you choose to invest in the right document managing service. Shredder security levels are a good thing to know but wouldn’t it be better to know that your documents are held in a secure location until their final destruction? And, they’re destroyed with papers from other companies, so there’s no way anyone would be able to reconstruct your sensitive documents.

Contact us today and let’s see what we can do to help you make sure you stay in compliance with the law and protect your sensitive information from prying eyes.

The Difference Between Onsite and Offsite Shredding

Paper shredding is one of the best ways to keep your business’ sensitive data secure.

Whether it’s your information, your employees’ records, or your customers’ confidential records, you want to keep it safe. You do this through two forms of compliance: Locked and safeguarded records management and shredding.

But do you shred onsite or offsite? While you can definitely shred documents on your own, store-bought shredders don’t shred documents small enough resulting in strips which could potentially be reconstructed. Instead, trust your confidential documents to a professional shredding service.

Most shredding services offer either onsite or offsite shredding. Here, we’ll get into the key differences between offsite and onsite paper shredding, and determine which option is safer for your business.

Offsite vs. Onsite Paper Shredding

The two differences between offsite and onsite document destruction are:

  1. The location of where your documents are shredded;
  2. What materials you are shredding, as well as how often.

What the first means is that the paper shredding services bring their shredding trucks to you (onsite). Or, you can use paper shredding services that take your documents to their secure facility in their locked trucks to be shred. This depends on which company you choose, but Federal Records Managment & Shredding offers both.

The second difference deals with how much data you need to shred and how often you need documents destroyed along with how much you need to destroy. Offsite shredding services are designed to handle larger volumes. So, if you have a large number of documents that need shredded, offsite is the best choice.

Which is Best?

If you hire a shredding company with a great Better Business Bureau rating, as well as being AAA NAID certified, there’s really not a better choice. AAA certified shredding companies ensures background checks are conducted on their employees, as well as maintain HIPAA and FACTA compliance. They’re trained to be discreet and secure with your shreddable documents.

How to Find Paper Shredding Services

The easiest way to choose a paper shredding service that has both a high BBB rating and is AAA NAID certified is to use Federal Records Management & Shredding.

If your business is in Fort Wayne, no other shredding company should be considered. With free estimates and excellent service, Federal Records Management & Shredding is the ideal fit for your compliant shredding needs, both onsite and offsite. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your paper shredding services.

You need to keep your sensitive data secure. Go with a shredding service that cares about your business as much as you do.

Why an NAID Certification Is Important

When it comes to conducting business, you need to focus on keeping the company, employees, and customers safe. The best way to do this is through hiring a shredding company.

However, not just any company will do. Make sure your shredding company is NAID certified.

More than $16 billion was stolen from millions of people in identity theft cases recently. Hiring a company with NAID certification tremendously lowers this risk in your business.

Read on to learn about this certification so you can make the right decision when choosing a shredding company.

The Advantages of NAID Certification

You’ll have peace of mind about your security if you hire a shredding company that has a NAID certification. These shredding companies go to great lengths to protect their clients.

Those that have this certification must background check their employees and drivers. They also maintain HIPPA and FACTA compliance. Furthermore, they issue confidentiality agreements to all employees.

Simply put, NAID certified shredders handle your documents with discretion and professionalism. Some fields that definitely need document shredding include law firms and medical practices.

Regardless of what kind of company you own, your document shredder should be trustworthy. This certification helps guarantee that.

Choose a Shredding Company

Once you know the importance of NAID certification, you’ll want to find a company that has these credentials.

Start by verifying their certification and speaking to them one-on-one about the solutions that you need. Check out the NAID code of ethics so you know what standards these members comply with.

We would be happy to explain this process of how we’ll dispose of your documents. This way, you can decide on the services and frequency best suited for your company.

Any paper shredding company that you hire should also have high Better Business Bureau (BBB) grades. This ensures that you’re making a wise hire. In addition to their BBB standing, only hiring a shredding company that has an AAA certified logo on their website.

Take Advantage of Shredding Services

Finally, you’ll want to take it upon yourself to regularly get rid of sensitive documents.

Take advantage of professional shredding services. This not only protects your company’s security but also makes you more competitive.

Customers need to know that their safety is guaranteed, and regularly shreddings help build this trust and rapport. Your employees will also benefit since they won’t have to worry about their personal information falling into the wrong hands.

Working with a reputable shredding company is great for your reputation. When customers and employees can trust you, you’ll remain a cut above the rest.

Consider these tips and use them to get the most out of your company’s security. Visit our site to learn more about protecting your valuable information.

Improve Your Business’ Confidentiality With Offsite Shredding

Think business confidentiality is only for top-secret projects? Does it surprise you to know that every business has confidential documentation?

Employee and customer records, contracts, and financial statements. Every company has these documents and more. Some are confidential, and they all take up space.

What do you do when storing paper records uses up valuable space and money? How do you dispose confidential records? Developing an in-house document retention and destruction department is expensive.

Learn how offsite shredding is the best solution for businesses of all sizes, in any industry.

Focus

Document destruction isn’t as simple as having shredders. Retrieval and transfer are also important. And what happens after the paper is shredded is as important as the shredding itself.

Professionals who manage offsite shredding stay focused. They pay close attention to regulations, secure transportation, and reliable disposal.

Accountability

Records management companies will be out of business in the blink of an eye if they aren’t reliable.

Look for companies with full and current NAID AAA Certification. This National Association of Information Destruction designation helps verify a service provider’s qualifications. Certification involves testing related to transfers, offsite storage, and more.

Service providers with NAID Certification are subject to routine and surprise audits.

Objectivity of Offsite Shredding

The teams that handle offsite shredding have no interest in the content of the documents. They’re interested in the safety and security of shredding. Their job is to retrieve, destroy, and dispose records you no longer need.

When in-house staff are tasked with shredding, five things often happen:

  • They spend time reading the documentation. It’s most often driven by curiosity, not malice. Still, time is money.
  • Personal opinion can override requirements. As a result, some documents are not destroyed. This can leave the company open to risk.
  • Shredding happens when time permits, not when required.
  • Shredded document tracking is inconsistent or doesn’t happen at all.
  • Disposal of the shredded paper is casual. That’s another opening for risk.

Best Practices

Offsite shredding can give you confidence.

Professional records management companies rely on best practices to remain effective and efficient. They use best practices to manage your expired and/or confidential documents from retrieval through to disposal. Outstanding service providers build on those best practices to remain market leaders.

For example, the most progressive and security-minded companies use GPS on all retrieval vehicles. Accurate tracking and greater security during document transfer is possible with GPS.

A progressive document management company can also include recycling in the disposal process. All without compromising security.

Go with the Professional Choice

Knowing which documents to destroy and when is your responsibility. Seeking legal guidance specific to your industry is always recommended.

But once you have documents ready for storage, destruction, or both, you need a professional to do the job.

We are a full-service records management company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We’re the only one that is locally owned & operated. We’re NAID AAA Certified and have a long list of satisfied customers.

Our dedicated team is ready to help you save time and money. We’ll keep your business free of unnecessary paper and protect confidential records.

Contact us today for a free estimate.

Making More Space In The Office? 5 Tips On Document Shredding & What To Shred

document shredding

Are you at the point where you need a gymnastics coach to make it from one end of your office to the other? Maybe you just don’t know when you should be shredding all of those documents that have been sitting around forever?

Unfortunately, this situation has landed you in a pickle. You’ve got limited office space and a growing pile of old, dust gathering paperwork.

When it comes to document shredding, how do you decide what to keep and what to get rid of?

5 Tips on Document Shredding

Federal and State laws dictate how long you must keep certain documents. To better protect yourself and stay compliant with the law, stick to these guidelines of practicing the right way to managing your records.

1. Employee

If you didn’t hire the someone, keeping their pre-employment information on file for one year is standard practice.

Having a personnel file for standard employee information is a good idea and this file should be kept separate from any legal or HR related files on said worker.

Once an employee has quit or been terminated, keep the files for at least three years. This length of time can vary according to state law, so make sure you check with the proper agency.

2. Benefits

All benefit plan records must be kept and maintained for at least six years. This number varies according to law. Keep general benefits information separate from any claims or medical record you may need to keep on file.

3. Banking

It’s a good plan to keep this information indefinitely. Contract, tax, and profit/loss information can be great reference tools for the future. Anything that a shareholder, accountant, or IRS auditor may need to look at it should have a permanent, secure home in your facility.

In some cases, you are required to keep anything that is confidential or sensitive.

Bank account and credit card statements should be kept for 7 years.

4. Junk

Any junk mail can usually be shredded immediately including notes made on post-its and scrap pieces of paper. Throwing them away dramatically increases the potential for a breach. Especially if we’re talking about passwords or safe combinations.

5. Clerical

Anything like purchase orders and receiving sheets should be kept on file for a year. This may seem like way longer than necessary, but you never know when the day comes where you’ll have to back track through six month’s worth of purchasing orders to find a $5,000 mistake.

The Takeaway

You owe it to your clients and employees to keep their information safe and secure. Failure to do so has some steep, legal consequences. To keep your business up and running and maintaining a secure environment for your sensitive documents, know when to shred and when to keep forever.

Check with state offices to see how your individual state handles document shredding, as it often differs from federal guidelines.

5 Reasons Your Information Management System Needs a Shredding Service

Do you need a shredding service? Ask yourself these questions: Is time on a budget at work? Do you find that your information management system is being overlooked?

It might be easy to push information management to the back of your mind but as soon as you encounter a confidentiality issue, you will wonder why you did not make it a priority sooner. Even minor details can be used to compromise your company’s security if they end up in the wrong hands. To ensure that your company’s confidentiality is maintained with integrity, you should handle information with care.

Storage and disposal of confidential records and documents should be a priority and ensuring that information is managed properly can save you headaches and anxiety. Taking the time to make sure that your information management system is streamlined to effectively guard confidential information is crucial.

A shredding service can serve as an invaluable resource to maintaining your company’s confidentiality and staying ahead of the curve.

Here are 5 reasons that you will want to use a shredding service:

Why Your Information Management System Needs a Shredding Service:

1. A shredding service guards against theft of confidential information.

There are reportedly 9 million victims of identity theft each year.

If these victims had invested in a shredding service, they would have likely been able to prevent becoming a part of this unfortunate statistic.

Shredding documents that can be used to steal identifying information is an effective way to guard against theft.

Professional thieves can use your information or your company’s information in catastrophic ways, wreaking irreparable damage.

The best way to guard against these invasive criminals is to proactively dispose of any documentation that can be used against you.

2. A shredding service can effectively dispose of large amounts of information.

When you are involved with the ins and outs of running a business, you might not realize just how much information that passes through your company, or how this information could be used against you.

A shredding service can accommodate the large amounts of documentation that companies often encounter.

When left to your own devices, you may not be as responsible in disposing of confidential documents.

3. A shredding service saves you time.

When you are crunched for time, disposing of your private information and protecting your company can be shuffled to the bottom of the barrel.

A shredding service takes care of the work, so you can take care of the things that you need to.

4. A shredding service is an efficient way to create space solutions.

Without a shredding service, many documents and papers will linger around the office far longer than necessary.

You might be surprised how distracting and space-consuming paperwork in the office can be: mail, files, paperwork, documentation…

Shredding can free up large areas of space and eliminate confusion and lack of organization in the office.

You waste time and energy sorting through papers, and revisiting piles of documents and mail that need tossing.

When you employ a shredding service, you are much more inclined to toss those unwanted and unneeded papers immediately, which clears space for the things that really need your attention.

5. Shredding helps to develop a system for documents that you need to keep and documents that should be thrown out.

When you have a shredding service you are more likely to differentiate between those papers that you should keep and those that you should not.

Shredding is one way to stay more organized.

When you rely on a shredding service, then you are more inclined to stay on top of the piles of paper. You realize that this stack is disposable, so you categorize appropriately.

When you have a destination for things, you are more likely to incorporate a system for dealing with them.

Conclusion:

A shredding service can offer businesses a number of valuable benefits. They help you to stay organized, protect yourself, save time and conserve space. If you need help getting your system on-track, let us help!

Shred Everything Policy

shred everything policy

You Can Never Be Too Careful: The Value of a “Shred Everything” Policy

Information coming in and out of your company is constantly at risk of being mishandled or stolen. Human error accounts for over 30% of the data breaches that occur in small business. Criminal “dumpster divers” are regularly hunting for personal or private information that can be found in commercial dumpsters or recycling bins. Considering the ever-increasing rates of identity-theft, as well as the increasing number of regulations to protect confidential information, it is far from prudent for any business to simply throw away documents into the trash or an open recycling bin.

There is always a chance that information can fall into the wrong hands — and that your business will be held liable.

It’s a time-consuming task to train employees which documents should be shredded. It also takes time from already busy schedules to force staff to walk to the office shredder and shred documents themselves.

Federal Records Management & Shredding suggests you simplify this task (and protect your business and save time and effort!). How? Direct everyone to assume that all paperwork is sensitive and should never go in the trash. Install our secure shredder containers and implement a “Shred Everything” policy.

Shred Everything policies are becoming the norm for businesses small and large. The benefits include:

  • document disposal is simplified
  • confidential information is protected
  • employees are easily trained
  • risk of information breaches is reduced
  • risk of regulatory non-compliance is reduced
  • paper is recycled (after shredding at the secure facility) instead of going into the waste stream or landfills

Tips for implementing a Shred Everything policy

  • make it simple
  • work with a licensed information destruction company such as Federal Records Management & Shredding to install appropriate bins and establish a destruction schedule
  • educate staff about the importance of the Shred Everything policy
  • allow an adjustment period then begin regular security assessments (i.e. checking copiers, faxes, and trash cans for stray documents)

Federal Records Management & Shredding in Fort Wayne is a NSAID AAA Certified document destruction facility. We protect all documents from the time they enter our secure shredding boxes, through being shredded at our secure facility, until they are received at the paper recycling company. We stay on top of compliance regulations to help you protect your business, your employees, and your clients. Call us today at (260) 267-9652 to learn how our easy-to-use — and economical! — procedures can keep you and your business safe from information breaches.

End of Year Document Purge

end of year file purge

Clean It Up, Clear It Out: Office Clean-Up Day!

At work, most of us don’t have the inclination or the time to devote to purging old documents and files. Work time is for work! However, dealing with files appropriately is an important task that helps a business run more smoothly AND reduces the chance of privacy or confidentiality breaches. It’s also a waste of space, time and energy to keep resources — information, supplies, equipment, etc. — around that don’t contribute to the company’s productivity or mission.

One way to make this important job more appealing is to designate an entire day for the entire staff to engage in an office-wide “purging”. Here’s a suggested Plan of Action to get started:

  • Assign one person or a small team to coordinate the day. Most businesses purge unwanted documents at the end of the year. It’s not only easy to remember but coincides with the fiscal year end.
  • This team should inventory the types of documents used by your business and
    determine rules for what can go in the trash or recycling, what needs to be
    shredded, and what should go to long-term storage.
  • Establish the day and give everyone notice well in advance (with frequent reminders as the day gets closer). Make it clear that everyone is expected to participate.
  • Create user-friendly instructions for document disposal or retention to hand out to all staff. Make especially sure that managers or supervisors understand the rules and can assist staff with questions.
  • Arrange for additional recycling and trash bins; arrange for an on-site shredding company or extra bins to transport files off-site for destruction.
  • And have some fun!
  • Make it a dress down day
  • Carry in breakfast and lunch
  • Have a contest like “guess how many pounds of paper were shredded”
  • Have someone take before and after pictures of the messiest spaces or file cabinets
  • Set up a “white elephant” room for unwanted items to be up for grabs, or donated to charity at the end of the day

The team at Federal Records Management and Shredding can provide advice and services to make sure your end of year document purge is handled appropriately. We know all the ins-and-outs of the privacy regulations that affect your business and offer paper shredding and secure hard-drive destruction, as well as secure on-site records retention (with an online inventory system that makes records retrieval easy and fast). Contact Federal Records Management and Shredding today to learn how our services can help make sure your businesses end of year document purge is handled safe and efficiently.

Information Destruction Training Program

employee compliance training

Training for You and Your Staff

You know that Federal Records Management and Shredding can take care of all of your document shredding (or records storage) needs. We are a AAA Certified member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). This means that by hiring us, you are taking crucial steps in protecting your business from non-compliance with HIPAA and other confidentiality regulations.

But, did you also know that Federal Records Management and Shredding is certified to train your staff on the requirements and procedures for proper information destruction? This service provides extra protection to your business (and your staff and clients). Should your information protection policies ever be questioned by a regulatory agency, you can prove that your staff has been properly trained by our certified facility.

“Every data protection regulation in the US requires that organizations properly train employees on proper information protection, including proper information destruction,” says NAID. “Just as important, regulators say that organizations who do train their employees on proper information protection will be held less responsible than if the training is not provided in the first place. So not only does the training increase employee compliance, it also reduces the fine.”

The training program offered by Federal Records Management and Shredding to its clients is easy!

  1. Employees watch a short video that shows why proper document destruction is crucial to the organization and their continued employment.
  2. Employees are given written instructions of your company’s destruction procedures.
  3. Employees sign an affidavit that they have received the training, understand their responsibility, and agree that ongoing compliance is a condition of their employment.

These simple steps protect you, your business, your employees, and your clients or patients! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your company stay in compliance!