More and more information is being created and stored electronically, but there are still numerous documents that cannot be legally accepted electronically. When the documents contain sensitive information, it is the responsibility of the business to keep it safe.
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) introduced in May 2018 required businesses to adapt the way data is stored and used, although the emphasis was heavily placed around the online data, the GDPR also defines how to deal with data on paper.
Paperwork that contains personal information, or business plans, for example, needs to be kept safe and only accessed by authorised people, once the information becomes obsolete it still needs to be kept confidential and the best way to ensure it does is by shredding it.
The consequences that can arise from not shredding confidential documents are damaging to the business, so prevention is always the best form of protection.
What Business Documents Needs to be Shredded
It can be difficult to remember the documents that need to be shredded, to make this task easier you can think of the acronym DOC
Documents with Personal Information
If there is any personal information such as address, phone number, ID number and others, being it client’s or staff’s, then you need to shred it.
Office Information and Procedures
Anything containing information about the company’s plans and guides, some examples are staff manual, seating map, future developments, ID’s and access cards.
Contracts and Sales Documents
In the interest of the business and the third part in the agreement, sensitive information as clients’ details, price and service are not meant to be disclosed, even after the contract’s expiration.
Some of them come with a confidentiality agreement that if it is breached, it voids the validity of the contract.
Why is Shredding Important
People’s safety is the priority reason for keeping these documents stored safely and disposed of properly. If an ill-intentioned person has access to the information, then as an example it can be used in cases of identity theft..
Identity theft is when a criminal use somebody’s personal information such as address, ID number and account details to obtain products and services under the person’s name.
If a criminal obtains this information from a business, by law both should be penalised for it.
All businesses need to play a part to save our environment and ensure the minimum number of trees possible are being cut down. The paper shredded properly can be easily recycled, ensuring the data is destroyed and the business is helping the environment.
Shredding paper also contributes to preventing a fire hazard, as it is highly flammable, the least we keep in the office the more compliant we are with the guides for fire prevention.
The Consequences of not Shredding Documents
The time wasted and effort that is necessary to deal with issues arising from not disposing of documents properly are already good reasons to carry out the task correctly, but there are also legal consequences and damage to the business.
The Data Protection Office, the department responsible for people’s right to privacy, ensure that companies follow the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), in case of breach the fines in Ireland can be up to €100.000.
If documents are stolen from your company and used in a case of identity theft, for example, you are not only open to fines and legal procedures but also the damage of reputation, consequently losing future business.
The golden business rule to keep customers loyal is to build trust, in a case of mishandling of sensitive information this trust is damaged, and it is very difficult to rebuild it.
Word of mouth, electronically or not, is still a powerful marketing tool that brings new business through referral, but in the case of a data breach, it also brings unfavourable advertising and damage to the business’ reputation.
Now that you know the reasons your business needs a shredder, find out which one is right for your business.