We talk a lot about paper shredding, particularly the facts around how it’s done and why you should do it. But we realise that there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there around paper shredding, whether that’s to do with the environment or people piecing together your documents in the dead of night. So today, as a bit of light-hearted relief, we bring you our 5 favourite paper shredding myths and explain exactly why they are myths and not facts.
No One Will Look Through Your Rubbish
Many people think that the idea of some shady character rooting through your rubbish is saved for the movies, but unfortunately, it is inspired by real life. There are many people who routinely go through the rubbish left by a business – some because it is part of their job to handle it and others for nefarious reasons. For example, the cleaning staff whose job it is to empty the bins might be tempted to take private information. Once it’s in the main rubbish bin outside it may be rifled through by just about anyone, from homeless people looking for boxes to journalists looking for an easy data leak story. What’s more, some areas are known to utilise the homeless to collect personal and business information from rubbish bins – paying them to bring sensitive information for use in their identity theft scams. So while it might seem far-fetched, and it might never happen to you – never throw anything away that could cause problems if found by someone else.
It’s Better To Keep Records For As Long As Possible, Instead Of Shred Them
You would be amazed by the number of businesses who hoard every single document until they go out of business despite the fact it’s just not needed. The government has set up guidelines and rules around how long business owners need to keep documentation, which is designed to lower the risk of identity theft as much as it is making the auditor’s job easier. If you leave your business-, employee- and customer-data lying in storage for too long, you are only increasing the probability of identity theft for those people. Even employees who no longer work for the company would be at risk if you kept their documents (like the copy of their passport you took upon employment) after the set time period.
It’s Cheaper To Use An Office Shredder
While on the face of it this might make sense, it is actually much more cost effective for businesses of almost any size to outsource their shredding to a professional instead of doing it in house. You might think ‘but an office shredder only costs £30, how is a profession al service going to be cheaper than that?’, but listen up. It’s not just the cost of the actual shredder you need to consider. The biggest cost of in-house shredding is actually found in staff time. You pay your staff for their time to do a job, and I’m willing to bet that shredding isn’t in that job description. Again – it might not seem like much, but the average office worker will spend over 26 hours a year shredding paperwork in house. Now look at what you pay each staff member for 26 hours of their time and add it all together – it is unlikely to be cost effective. So every time you let your employees shred their own paperwork, you might as well shred some money with it.
Recycling Is A Perfectly Legal Way To Dispose Of Paperwork
For any business owner, this is absolutely, categorically wrong. Under the Data Protection Act (and soon under GDPR as well), businesses have an obligation to ensure documentation is used fairly and lawfully, kept securely while it is used for its specific purpose and kept for no longer than necessary. It then goes on to say that businesses that hold and process sensitive data about any individual or company must take appropriate measures to ensure the safe and secure destruction of that data – and that’s where the crux of this problem is. Firstly recycling isn’t destruction, and secondly, it isn’t secure. So recycling paperwork is completely against the legislation on this one, whereas using a secure shredding service that can provide legal proof of your documents confidential destruction is right on the money.
Owning A Shredder Shows That I Am Compliant
Wrong again. Simply owning a shredder or having one in your office isn’t good enough to prove to the government that you have been using it. We all know not every employee is going to shred, and privacy laws require rigorous proof of all compliance. The only way to ensure you are fully compliant is to maintain a record of shredding that is monitored and certified by a manager. But this is a very time-consuming endeavour, which is why many companies opt for an outsourced shredding company that can provide this documentation as part of the service.
At Hungry Shredder, we work with business to help them understand the whole shredding process, and how it will truly benefit your business. Not only is it a more cost effective, secure solution to your document destruction obligations, but it means you can relax in a stress-free environment, knowing that your data protection obligations are completely covered. For more information, or to book your first shredding session today, just get in touch with one of our team.