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Understanding Your Paperwork Obligations

When it comes to running a business, nothing is ever simple. This goes double for your paperwork. Even though more businesses than ever are aiming for the ‘paperless’ goal, paperwork is still a huge pain point. There are a huge number of processes that need to be followed with paper, and many more industry specific rules. But there are some key regulations that govern how businesses manage paper, and you need to know what they are, and how you can stay compliant.

 

Companies House Filings

 

Of course, as a UK business, you have some basic obligations for paperwork with Companies House. These obligations are mainly around what you need to keep, and for how long. Every UK business is required to keep the following documents for 6 years:

 

  • Accounting records
  • Stock records
  • Details of goods bought and sold, including parties involved (unless you are running a retail business)
  • Financial records (such as receipts, petty cash books, delivery notes, copies of invoices, contracts, sales books)
  • Balance sheets
  • Profit & loss statements
  • Financial forecasts

 

Because these records are highly sensitive, businesses also need to stay on top of destroying these once that 6 year timer runs out. Otherwise, you are leaving your business open to identity theft and fines from Companies House. That’s where your shredding partner comes in – we help you destroy these documents securely and on time.

 

On top of that, you will need to keep a few bits of paperwork indefinitely, like:

 

  • Detailed record of the company
  • Results of any shareholder votes
  • Specifics of any company loans
  • Record of share purchases and sales

 

Data Protection

The Data Protection Act is the final authority in how your business should be handling data. You might think you don’t really handle data in paper form, but we can guarantee that you do. The Data Protection Act defines 2 types of data businesses can hold on people (customers, suppliers, employees and more).

 

  1. Personal Data –

    Data which relates to a living individual who can be identified from the data, or from the data and other information which is in possession of, or likely to come into the possession of the data controller; and it includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual.

     

 

  1. Sensitive Personal Data –

    Sensitive personal data is defined as personal data consisting of information relating to the data subject with regard to racial or ethnic origin; political opinions; religious beliefs or other beliefs or a similar nature; trade union membership; physical or mental health or condition; sexual life; the commission or alleged commission by the data subject of any offence; or any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by the data subject, the disposal or such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings.

     

 

That might all seem like a mouthful, but it basically means any data on an individual is covered by the Data Protection Act. So you are under obligation to keep this information secure, accurate and up to date. You must also ensure this data is not kept any longer than it is needed, and destroyed securely (with evidence) when it is no longer needed.

 

GDPR 

Of course, The UK Data Protection Act is living on borrowed time now. In May 2018, this act will be will be replaced by the EU regulation GDPR (which we have talked about before). Luckily, if you are compliant with the Data Protection Act you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting your paperwork ready for GDPR. The main changes will be the ‘right to be forgotten’ and an intensified focus on privacy. This means you will need to ensure that you can easily find all paper records for individuals in order to destroy them, if requested. This on its own has lots of businesses scrambling to either redefine their filing systems ‘by person’, or to make the switch to paperless working. Either way, you need to be confident you can find everything you need if one of these right to be forgotten requests comes in. The second thing GDPR will affect in your paperwork obligations is privacy. You will need to analyse your processes and ensure that all data is kept secure and private. No one should be able to access documents if they aren’t authorised, and paperwork should all be destroyed properly and securely every time.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we help businesses get (and stay) compliant with their paperwork obligations by providing a secure method for document destruction. Our secure paper and hard drive shredding services ensure that your documentation is destroyed properly, and a full record is given of that destruction. That means you are not only meeting your privacy and destruction obligations, but you can prove it too. To find out more about what we do, get in touch with our team today.

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Why Your Paperwork Needs To Be GDPR Ready

By now, most business owners have heard about the looming spectre of GDPR. Depending on what industry you’re in, you may have only head the term in hushed voices. Or you might have been hearing about it every day for months and be sick of the subject. But either way, you need to be aware because GDPR affects all businesses in the UK.

 

What Is GDPR?

GDPR stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation’, and is essentially the EU’s answer to all other data protection laws – including our own Data Protection Act. It came about because the EU noticed that all of its citizens were having their personal data treated differently by different countries because each country had its own rules about how sensitive information should be handled. Some were being protected well, but others were finding their data was being put at risk thanks to lax security laws. So instead, GDPR will apply to all EU countries, standardising and unifying data protection standards. The regulation is mandatory for all EU countries, and also extends to any non-EU business that handles EU citizen data. In short, the EU is dedicated to the protection of their citizen’s personal information. But this does cause some problems for UK businesses.

 

But How Does GDPR Affect My Paperwork?

GDPR is currently in a transitionary phase that allows businesses to get their affairs in order before the official launch date of the 25th May 2018. All UK businesses have until this date to ensure all of their systems are secure and prepared. This will mostly consist of IT systems upgrades, which are easy to test and change. But the same can’t be said for paperwork. Experts have revealed that businesses face their most significant challenges in applying GDPR to paper records. The regulations set out exactly how data should be acquired, used, stored and destroyed – all of which is much more complex in paper. So to help you get ahead, we have a few tips for you:

 

Make Sure You Can Find What you Need –  GDPR includes a wonderful little rule that enshrines the right of individuals to ‘be forgotten’ by businesses. In other words, people will be able to request that a company delete any and all personal data held on them, and the company has to comply. But while it might be easy to search and delete data form a database, it isn’t the case with paper records, which are often scattered around various storage areas in the business. So in order to be compliant, you may need to re-organise your filing system to make finding all data on a single person possible, without causing headaches.

 

Remember That Paper Can lead A Double Life –  Clearly defined processes for managing information from creation to secure destruction may not be enough on their own to comply with GDPR. Paper can slip through the cracks of the strictest information security frameworks, simply by being copied of printed or left lying around. This in itself is enough to constitute a breach of GDPR. We recommend you compliment your document management strategy with regular employee training and communication, to show staff how to merge information securely and support a business wide culture of information responsibility.

 

Build Privacy Into Your Processes – The GDPR is designed to bring privacy to the forefront of the way businesses produce, manage and dispose of information. For physical paperwork, this will be all about data handling processes. Ideally, you should make it difficult (if not impossible) for unauthorised people to access or copy documents. Disposal of documents should be secure and thoroughly documented. So your information storage, retention and destruction processes all need to be reviewed and amended with privacy in mind. This may mean investing in lockable or keypad protected document storage, and hiring an external shredding company to carry out destruction and document that destruction.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we know a lot about paperwork. In preparation for GDPR, we are helping customers to evaluate the security of their documents and how they are destroyed. Not only that, but our secure shredding service provides a simple, easy way for businesses to fulfil their GDPR obligations, without having to lift a finger. And because we provide official certification of document destruction, we are the ideal partner for your GDPR paperwork needs. To find out more, just get in touch with one of the team today.

 

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Japanese Scandals Lead To Document Shredding Review

There has been a lot going on in the world recently, so you can be forgiven for missing this one; but over the last few months, there have been series of scandals in Japan, all around document destruction. These scandals lead all the way to the prime minister, which is why the Japanese government is now launching a debate on revising how administrative documents should be managed.

 

What’s The Problem?

A series of scandals revolving around the leaking and destruction of essential documents within the Japanese government have been cropping up recently, with the most recent leak and subsequent shredding threatening the Japanese prime minister’s grip on power. In another scandal that led to the resignation of former Defence Minister Tomomi Inada last month, the Defence Ministry said it discarded the daily activity logs from Ground Self-Defence Force engineering unit that was participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations in South Sudan. Another was the Moritomo Gakuen scandal, part of which involved the heavily discounted sale of government land to the Osaka-based nationalist school operator. The Finance Ministry told the Diet that its records on the negotiations with the owner, who had once been supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife but now faces fraud charges, had been destroyed.

 

Unlike in the UK, Japanese rules around document management are not set in legal stone – they are simply guidelines. These guidelines for document management in Japan were first drawn up in 2011, and states that government agencies should sort documents into 4 categories for storage – ranging from 1 to 30 years – according to importance. Documents left out of these categories are kept for less than a year. Government agencies in Japan don’t have to keep records on document creation and destruction, and each agency has its own set of classification under these guidelines.

 

So What’s Next

In light of the scandals, the government debate will be focussed on how much the government can limit the arbitrary discarding of administrating documents that should be kept. In order to tackle the arbitrary document destruction, the government is considering ways to reduce the number of documents that are kept for less than a year. The debate, which will take place in the coming weeks, will study specific requirements for documents to be kept for less than a year, hoping to tweak the guidelines by the end of this year. In light of these scandals, various government employees are calling for a clear line to be drawn between administrative documents and notes – a line which isn’t clear now. Under the public records and archives management law, administrative documents are defined merely as “documents that the staff of administrative agencies create as part of their duties and are used as an organization.”

 

The seriousness of these document scandals is not to be underestimated, and they do a great job of highlighting the need for effective document handling storage and destruction legislation. In the UK, we have various laws that govern how businesses and government organisations can deal with different documents, including how long to store them for and providing proof of adequate destruction. If you would like to learn more about how you should destroy your documents and how we can help you do so, just get in touch with us today.

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How Paperwork Automation Can Enhance Your Business

In the flood of new predictions and projections for upcoming tech, it has been suggested that 2017/18 is the year that robots and AI will start to become prominent in our day to day lives. In fact, experts believe that automation via software and physical hardware will fully augment the existing workforce, allowing the humans within the organisation to focus on problem finding and solving, instead of more menial tasks. We couldn’t agree more. In fact, in the last year several departments in large companies – from HR to accounts, engineers to couriers – found that automating their paperwork and documentation processes led to them spending 40-50% less time on administrative work, allowing them to focus more on their main tasks. So if your business deals with paperwork in any way, listen up!

 

Streamline Your Business

Paperwork is, without a doubt, one of the most time consuming and sometimes boring jobs that is essential to keep your business running. But it doesn’t have to be. Instead of spending hours wading through paperwork, filing and data entry, you can automate your documentation processes instead. Automation software can remove the need for human involvement in repetitive paperwork tasks like data entry and filing, providing a high rate of accuracy in a fraction of the time. With the heavy lifting and repeatable tasks in the hands of computer software, your staff members are now free to spend their time on tasks which are much more valuable to your business. This approach also holds an extra benefit. Studies in America and Britain have discovered that those businesses that are employing automated reporting systems are reducing their physical paperwork load (great news for the environment and data protection compliance) and producing more efficient, accurate records. When it comes to data you can never be too accurate, and this could be why 98% of businesses are now looking at automated software for the first time.

 

Reduce Risk & Make Compliance Easier 

People make mistakes. We might like to think we are perfect, but the reality is everyone is going to make a mistake or two in their working lives. Invoices can get lost on deliveries, important post can be put into the ‘bin’ pile instead of the ‘client’ pile, and reports can be accidentally deleted from the system. Missing paper, data entry errors or inaccessible data can cause a whole host of problems, especially when the end of year tax returns roll around. Sadly most of these mistakes come from human error during the processing or handling of paperwork, and the results can range from a minor inconvenience to large liabilities in cases of disputed bills or inspections. Removing the human element from your data processing means that errors will disappear. What’s more, you can programme your automation software to your specific company guidelines and policies so you know that all of your paperwork is completely compliant. This is especially useful for accounting and compliance departments who need to adhere to a complex set of rules regarding paperwork.

 

Cost Effective

In today’s busy schedules we often hear the phrase ‘time is money.’ Our most valuable asset is the time we have, and the amount we can do in that time at work defines how efficient we are being. For a lot of employees across all industries, thousands of man hours are piled into administrative tasks. But if those tasks were taken away, those employees would have more time available to focus on helping the business grow and improve. Not only will automating your documentation processes save you hundreds of hours every single month, but the saved time investment from your employees can help your business to grow more quickly. In fact, studies have shown that businesses who use automated software for their paperwork, documentation and marketing processes are growing on average 63% quicker than those who aren’t, with a 10% increase in sales being contributed to their pipeline through a combination of automated software and increased sales time from their teams.

 

Don’t Forget The Shredding

Of course, no matter how hard you try, physical paperwork is still going to come into your business. Clients will send you documents, suppliers will send paper invoices and there will still be some times where you need to generate the paper yourself. As much as we would like it to be achievable, the paperless office is still a far-off myth. That’s why you need a secure shredding solution in place to work alongside your automation solution. At Hungry Shredder, we love working with businesses who have automated their paperwork processes. We not only help them securely destroy the paperwork from the first big clear out that comes with a new automation solution, but we help them stay on top of their document shredding on an ongoing basis, and stay compliant with data protection legislation. For more information, just get in touch with us today.

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5 Paper Shredding Myths Busted

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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

 

  1. 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.

 

 

  1. 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.

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4 Things To Remember Before You Sell Your Old IT Equipment

In an age where technology is evolving so quickly, it can seem like we’re buying new IT equipment every other month, particularly if you’re in a tech driven field. But what do you do with all of your old equipment once you have replaced it? For many businesses, this equipment represents a substantial investment, so it’s understandable that you don’t want to just throw it all away. Instead, many businesses opt to sell their old IT equipment on for second-hand use or recycling. But there are a few steps you need to take first in order to protect your business and your data.

 

 

Do A Manual Data Reset

 

The first thing you need to do is make a full, comprehensive back up of your data. Once you erase all of the data from your machines there is no getting it back, so unless you want to lose it, you need to make sure it’s safe. Only after you have done this can you move onto the next stage – doing a manual wipe of all data on your machine. This will not be a fool proof method of completely deleting everything on the machine (we’ll get to that in a minute), but it will remove all of the surface data, temporary files and other top level information. A complete factory reset is simple to do for laptops, PC’s and tablets but may be more difficult for servers or more complex machinery.

 

 

Remove The Hard Drive

 

As we mentioned in the point above, a factory reset won’t completely remove your data, so your IT isn’t completely safe to sell just yet. Next, you need to remove the hard drive from the machine completely. You need to do this because the hard drive is where your files are stored, and even a factory reset won’t erase these completely. Students at MIT proved this when they subjected 250 second-hand hard drives bought on eBay to some basic forensic recovery software – which was able to recover credit card information, healthcare details, bank accounts and more. If you aren’t sure how to remove your hard drive, you can check out our guide here.

 

 

Shred The Hard Drive

 

Once you have removed the hard drive, you need to decide what to do with it. Outside of the computer, it will basically be a useless hunk of metal – but with your personal and business information stored on it. So instead of throwing it away or leaving it in a cupboard to gather dust, you should take it to a shredding plant. Shredding a hard drive is the only way to ensure that the data on it can never be retrieved (short of investing in a very large and expensive magnet!).

 

 

 

Sell Or Recycle?

 

And finally, you need to decide whether you will sell your equipment or recycle it. Newer machines and equipment that is simply surplus to requirements can be sold on to new users through platforms like eBay and Gumtree, which allows you to recoup some of your investment and provide others with a useable computer. But if the machinery is old, worn out or on its last legs, it may be better served as recycling. In this case, you can either sell it to a recycling plant or have the entire thing shredded. Before shredding the equipment, many components will be harvested for reuse in new machines, and everything else will be shredded and separated into metal and plastic types, shipped off to factories who can use it in new equipment.

 

 

At Hungry Shredder, we believe in recycling and reusing as much as possible. Selling or shredding your old IT equipment is a great way to protect the environment and divert unnecessary waste from landfill sites. For more information on how Hungry Shredder can help you recycle your old IT equipment, get in touch with us today.

 

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What Are ISO Standards?

At Hungry Shredder, we are very proud of the fact that our shredding services are fully ISO compliant across the board. We tell you all about it in ‘Our Shredding Service Standards’, along with all of the other shredding accreditations we have. But enough about us.  Today we want to take a moment and explain what exactly these numbers are, and what they mean for you as a customer. After all, unless you work in the industry, odds are you don’t know what these specific ISO standards are for. So, we want to explain.

  

What Are ISO Standards? 

Starting at the beginning, ISO standards are international standards set out by ISO, which stands for International Organisation for Standardisation. This body (which has a membership of over 163 other national standards bodies) creates documents that provide each industry with requirements, specifications, guidelines and characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are truly fir for their purpose. This ensures that customers are getting a consistent minimum standard of products or service. These standards are developed by the industry that needs them, using experts from all fields and geographical locations to ensure everyone can adhere easily. Almost every sector you can think of has their own ISO standards, and these are identified by a series of numbers. For shredding, the primary ISO standards are 9001:2015, 14001 and 9001:2008.

  

ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001:2015 is the standard that specifies requirements for quality management systems within an organisation. They are required when an organisation:

 

  • Needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory

 

  • Aims to enhance customer satisfaction through effective application of the system, including processes for improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

 

A bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? And it might seem a bit generic too, but it designed to be. This is because ISO 9001:2015 needs to be applicable to any organisation, regardless of its type or size, or the products or services it provides. This standard ensures that there are system in place to manage quality of products and services before they are provided to customers – an essential for any business.

 

ISO 14001:2015

The ISO 1400 family sets the standard for environmental management, and provides practical tools for companies and organisations of all kinds who want to manage their environmental responsibilities. So naturally, dealing with paper and its disposal falls into this category. ISO 14001:2015 and its supporting standards focus on environmental systems that will help businesses achieve this. ISO 14001:2015 specifically maps out a framework, which a company can follow to set up an effective and compliant environmental management system. It also allows business owners and external stakeholders to see that environmental impact is being measured, and steps are being taken to improve it. There are some great guides out there, including this handbook for SME’s that gives you a step by step guide to following ISO 14001:2015. There is so much included in this ISO standard that it is difficult to explain it all in one short piece, but overall it outlines the ways that businesses should be operating to minimise their environmental impact – from energy and transport to manufacturing, waste disposal and management strategy.

 

ISO/IEC 27000 

The ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards is designed to help organisations keep information assets secure. There are many different ISO standards under this heading, so we won’t go into them all today. But by using this family of standards, any business can easily manage the security of the more intangible assets in their business – like financial information, intellectual property, employee details or third party information. This ISO standard hangs very well with the Data Protection Act, and almost adds an extra layer of protection to your business. As a shredding company, we are part of many businesses compliance with ISO/IEC 27000.

 

Being ISO compliant is about more than just adhering to some rules. ISO standards have been designed to ensure that our customers get a consistent service, and some, like ISO 14001:2015, have been designed to help the environment. To find out more about how we help other businesses be compliant with ISO standards, or what we do to be compliant, get in touch with our expert team today.

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Why Should You Shred Your (Old) Hard Drive?

At Hungry Shredder, we often bang on about how important it is for you to shred your old paperwork. It’s a massive security thing, as well as being good for the environment and your business. But how much thought have you given to the other things in your business that contain critical, sensitive data? Things like USB sticks, archive boxes, or old hard drives. In this post, we explain why you should shred your old hard drives. If you want to know how to remove the hard drive ready for shredding, go back and read this post.

 

Data Responsibility 

The absolute bottom line reason for shredding your old hard drives comes down to our old favourite – the Data Protection Act. As a business, it is your legal responsibility to ensure any data you hold on a client, supplier or any other individual or business is stored, handled and disposed of correctly. And while you may have processes in place to protect the data while it is in use, many businesses aren’t sure what to do with it when it’s no longer useful. But unlike paperwork, it’s very difficult to just shred a single file on your hard drive. Instead, Businesses should wait until their machines are being upgraded, and use that opportunity to destroy any residual data that hasn’t been wiped from the hard drives them. All they have to do is remove the hard drive itself and have that shredded – then the shell of the computer can be sold on without the risk of selling data too.

 

Data Is Never Really Deleted

Did you know that a single hard drive can You contain hundreds of thousands of files? You might not think it by looking at your high level file library, but most of that volume is taken up by all of the files you think you have deleted. see, it’s very, very difficult to permanently delete data from a hard drive. Even with expert scrubbing software, some traces of the file data can be left behind, and this is sometimes enough for data thieves to harvest and use. So all of your old emails, stored passwords, documents, signatures – every file you have ever created, opened or deleted is still there in some form. The only way to really fully delete it from existence is to destroy the device it is saved to – AKA the hard drive.

 

Understanding Hard Drive Shredding 

There are a number of ways you can ‘delete’ data from a hard drive. You could buy some pricey data wipe software online, hit the casing really hard with a hammer or put it next to an industrial magnet (all of which are real solutions posed by the citizens of the internet on a cursory Google search, by the way). But the only way you will know that you data is gone is when the hard drive has been completely destroyed. This is most simply accomplished by shredding. Sadly, your loyal office shredder won’t be able to handle this one. Instead you need industrial grade machinery, capable of slicing through metal, cables, solder and computer chips as if they were butter. These shredders will split your hard drive up into miniscule pieces, which will then be separated, melted down and turned into new components. You’re definitely not getting anything back from that hard drive!

 

Luckily for you, the team at Hungry Shredder have one of these monster machines, waiting to chew up your old, discarded hard drives. The service is simple and cost effective, and can be used for 100 hard drives or just one, so you don’t need to keep them piling up until you have ‘the right amount’ Instead, bring them down to one of our shredding centres and watch our magnificent machine break it down and securely destroy your data for good. For more information, or to book your hard drive destruction session, get in touch with the team today.

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The Paperless Office Myth

Over the past few decades many people have been shouting about the imminent arrival of the paperless office. But even the explosion of new Internet technologies which allow users to share, read and edit documents, we are still clinging to the notion that businesses need paper to function. We believe that the paperless office is a myth, with businesses preferring a paper-light instead of paperless work environment.

 

What Is The Paperless Office?

 

The idea of the paperless office has been around for a long time, with the earliest recorded thoughts on it dating back to the Seventies with information scientist Frederick Lancaster. With the knowledge we have about producing paper and its impact on the environment it’s not surprising that many businesses want to be able to operate a completely paper free office, transferring everything into a digital formats. But in reality SME’s want a paper-light rather than paperless office solution, because print still plays a vital part in business. In fact, a survey from 2014 found that paper usage was on the increase in most firms, with ¾ of all invoices that arrived in PDF form being printed, and almost half of paper documents being scanned being created digitally.

 

The Technology Is Out There

 

One of the common myths of the paperless office is that the technology isn’t ready to support it yet. This is actually far from true. The components of the paperless office are all readily available and are actually fairly inexpensive. You can convert your physical paper into digital documents, and thanks to the creation of new apps and workflow tools you can almost eliminate the need for printing anything new. Almost. In fact, tools like digital signatures and encryptions have the power to revolutionise the way businesses operate on a fundamental level. The problem is, the adoption rate of these technologies is still very low, with trust in an all-digital office still not fully established. When it comes to signing a document, most people are still more comfortable signing a physical piece of paper with a pen than typing their name into a box on a computer. This might sound like a simple fix, but in reality the thing holding the paperless office back isn’t the technology; it’s the people.

 

Setting Up Systems

 

If you are truly dedicated to reducing the paper within your business, the key is to have a system in place. Transforming how you handle active documents across your business, how you store it and how you destroy it is all part of the process. Offer a solution that combines ease of access with the benefits of secure storage and management and you will see dramatic reductions in unnecessary printing. Part of that process is installing a secure storage unit for your ‘inactive’ documents to be stored in to await destruction. This removes the paper from the office creating a cleaner and more productive environment, as well as ensuring your documents are secure. Tackling information as it enters the business and establishing defined channels for how it is handled should be the next part of your process, along with instating firm print guidelines.

 

 

If you are looking into the paper-light office route but don’t know where to start, then you need to bring in a professional. Making the decision to change the way your office is run can be difficult, and it may unearth other issues within your office that you hadn’t even considered. For more information, get in touch with us today for your free consultation.

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Paperwork Problems And How To Solve Them

Over the past few decades many people have been shouting about the imminent arrival of the paperless office. But even the explosion of new Internet technologies which allow users to share, read and edit documents, we are still clinging to the notion that businesses need paper to function. No matter which way you spin it, paperwork is a pain, and its very existence brings about all sorts of problems. Luckily, there are some ways to ditch the paper in your business and keep it out of your way for good.

  

Filing

 

I’ve got to be honest, I think I only know 1 person who genuinely enjoys filing.  This breed of person is very rare, and also tends to take enjoyment from deep-cleaning bathrooms. For the rest of us, filing is one of those tasks we dread, and really wished didn’t exist at all. The good news is in modern times, it’s becoming less necessary to have physical filing cabinets in offices anymore. Even for business who deal with a lot of contracts (which of course need to be signed and kept), these things can now be kept and even created in digital format easily. This doesn’t just mean that you get a corner of your office back, but you lose all of that time wasted looking for files, putting things in the right places and doing the annual data cleanse. Now all of those things can be done with a few mouse clicks at the computer which is much better, isn’t it?

  

Errors

 

People make mistakes. We might like to think we are perfect, but the reality is everyone is going to make a mistake or two in their working lives. Invoices can get lost on deliveries, important post can be put into the ‘bin’ pile instead of the ‘client’ pile, and reports can be accidentally deleted from the system. Missing paper, data entry errors or inaccessible data can cause a whole host of problems, especially when the end of year tax returns roll around. Sadly most of these mistakes come from human error during the processing or handling of paperwork, and the results can range from a minor inconvenience to large abilities in cases of disputed bills or inspections.  Removing the human element from your data processing means that errors will disappear. What’s more you can programme your automation software to your specific company guidelines and policies, so you know that all of your paperwork is completely compliant. This is especially useful for accounting and compliance departments who need to adhere to a complex set of rules regarding paperwork.

 

Data Protection

 

Having a suitable and robust data protection policy in place is critical for any business. A single data breach resulting in the theft of confidential customer data could cost your business dearly in terms of money, security and reputation, not to mention the possibility of criminal charges if the theft was aided by someone inside. Paperwork is still one of the bigger causes of data breach in business, despite what the all of the recent reports of cybercrime news would have you believe. So in order to comply with the Data Protection Act and make sure your business stays safe, you should be regularly shredding used documentation and disposing of it safely.

 

 

Of course – what are you supposed to do with all of the paperwork that is already in your business when you switch to these fancy new digital systems? At first, you will simply have doubled up your paperwork, so you will need to employ the services of a shredding company (like us) to destroy all of it for you, securely. This is a very simple process that simply requires you to click here, and if you want you can even watch the documents be shredded! Moving forward, businesses will always produce paper in some form, whether that’s invoices coming in or board meeting notes. Our monthly shredding plans mean you never have to worry about getting rid of paperwork again – just wait for us to arrive for a monthly pick up. To find out more about our shredding services and how we can cure your paperwork pains, get in touch with us today.