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Why You Need To Shred Paper To Be GDPR Compliant

With less than a month to go, GDPR is causing a huge wave of activity from business owners across the UK, and probably across the whole of Europe too. But while a lot of businesses are focussing their efforts of digital security, they are missing one very important component of the regulation – their paper-based data. Just because the world is moving into digital processing, doesn’t mean that paper-based risk has gone away completely, and it would be a costly mistake to make.

 

In fact, research from the ICO during 2016 revealed that 40% of UK data security incidents were attributed to paper. These included:

 

  • 19% – data being posted or faxed to the wrong recipient

 

 

  • 14% – paper being lost or stolen

 

 

  • 4% – data left in an insecure location

 

 

  • 3% – insecure disposal of paperwork

 

 

Since that study was done, a 20% increase in loss or theft of paperwork has been observed. So you see, when paperwork presents nearly 50% of the risk, why is it not receiving 50% of the attention? And how do you protect your business?

 

Why Do I Need To Shred? 

 

Simply put, shredding your paperwork is the single most secure way to dispose of it. Not only that, but it helps your business meet its GDPR requirements for data security by providing an effective and secure way of disposing of data, preventing access by third parties. After all, GDPR is concerned with how personal data is handled by businesses in both electronic and paper format. If you don’t have processes in place to protect the data you hold in hard copy, you are leaving yourself open to serious security risk, and potential fines from the EU regulator. This is because, under GDPR, you are liable if a data breach leads to an individual’s personal information being stolen.

 

One of the key components of data security is proper disposal of data – in any format. Unshredded documents can be read by anyone, so simply putting them in a bin or recycling bin isn’t going to cut it (see what we did there?). By shredding your documents once they have fulfilled their purpose, you are effectively destroying the information and preventing it from being read by third parties – fulfilling your obligations in one, simple action.

 

What If I’m Already Shredding?

 

If you’re thinking ‘well, I feed all my documents to the office shredder, so I’m, fine’ – you might want to check yourself first. You might still be at risk if your shredding practices aren’t at a high enough level to secure data completely. This is mainly because most office shredders are ‘strip cut’, which still poses a risk of breach through reconstruction (see our blog here for more info on that). Luckily, there are 3 main options business owners can use to ensure they are 100% compliant:

 

  • Cross-Cut Shredders – cross cut shredders significantly increase the security of your destruction simply by adding in another blade. This leaves documents in tiny shreds that are almost impossible to reconstruct – which is what you need for GDPR level security. Find out more about cross cut shredders in our article here.

 

 

 

  • Auto-feed Shredders – Because shredding is a time consuming and frankly, dull, task, one of the other big non-compliance issues is it simply not getting done. Auto-feed shredders remove the time-consuming element from the equation, since you just have to plonk a stack of documents on it and the machine will pull them through to shred. However, these machines are incredibly expensive and large, making them, a less than ideal solution.

 

 

 

  • Secure Paper Destruction Services – And then there’s secret option number 3 – get someone else to do it for you. If you’re struggling to find the time to get your shredding done, or you need large volumes dealt with regularly, then outsourced shredding is the solution for you. Simply have a secure console (like a tall, enclosed bin) installed in your office and drop papers in as you’re done with them – your shredding partner takes care of the rest.

 

 

 

At Hungry Shredder, we specialise in making paperwork destruction as painless as possible for your business. Our secure shredding service mean that collecting data (and keeping it safe during the process) has never been simpler and will be easy to adopt throughout the company. When your paperwork is collected, it’s shredded in one of our mobile shredding units, and you are provided with a data destruction certificate then and there – as proof that you’ve met your obligations under GDPR. For more information, just get in touch with us today.

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GDPR Myths (And What You Really Need To Focus On)

It’s close to crunch time, which means that GDPR has got everyone a bit hot under the collar. Even more so now that we’re down to a double digit countdown to implementation day. But there are so many articles and papers flying around that there has started to be some conflicting information out there, to the point that we now have ‘GDPR myths’, despite the regulation not even being in force yet. So today, we wanted to clear a few things up – looking at 4 GDPR myths and the truths behind them.

 

Breach Reporting

Under the Data Protection Regulation, businesses are required to disclose data breaches to anyone who’s data may have been compromised, In that sense, not a lot will change with GDPR. The new regulation still makes it mandatory to report a personal data breach if it’s likely to risk people’s rights and freedoms. To clear that up, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) provided a paper that identified high risk ramifications to data breach, including discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss and other significant economic issues. Mandatory reporting helps catch these things early, and put measures in place to prevent the damage.

 

Reporting Deadlines

Following on from mandatory reporting of data breaches., GDPR also sets out a timeline for when that reporting needs to happen. In order to be compliant, businesses need to notify the ICO that a personal data breach has taken place within 72 hours of discovering it. This does not mean within 72 hours of the data breach happening – but rather 72 hours from the moment of discovery. So if a day breach happened 3 months ago, but you only just discovered it at this moment, you would have 72 hours from now to report it. The ICO doesn’t expect all of the exact details right away either – they understand that you might not have all of the information in place, but they want to know the scope of the breach, the cause, and your mitigation plan.

 

Fines

GDPR also instigates a new type of fine for breach of its regulation – and its pretty heavy. Under GDPR, the ICO will have the power to issue fines for breaches, including failing to notify, and failing to notify on time. These fines can vary in scale, but climb as high as 4% of the company’s global annual revenue, or 20 million Euros – whichever is higher. But the regulation isn’t just about issuing huge fines. In fact, fines can be avoided if businesses take a transparent approach and comply with regulations.

 

Information Destruction

One of the bigger elements to GDPR is the ‘right to be forgotten’. With this in mind, businesses should no longer be keeping personal information any longer than necessary – and must delete or remove the data at the owners request. This means that businesses need to have an information destruction process in place and know how to follow it. The best procedures are ones that are simple to follow – which means you need an easy way to dispose of both digital and physical data. If you’re not sure how to do that – just ask your local shredding consultant.

 

There’s no doubt about it – even if you’ve never thought about it before, now is the time to take action. Every business handling EU data needs to be looking at its own processes, and taking steps to protect their business from the inside out. To learn more about how Hungry Shredder can protect your documents and hard drives, even under the watchful eye of GDPR, just get in touch with us today for your free consultation and quote.

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The GDPR Countdown

Last year, the UK government stirred business owners into a frenzy by announcing that the Data Protection Act 1998 will in May be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation, in accordance with EU policy. The new regulation will be an update on the Data Protection Act, and it’s been a long time coming. The UK Data Protection Act was written before the internet and cloud computing transformed the way we generate, use and store data – both as users and as business. GDPR attempts to address these issues and put measures in place to protect data within new technologies. But now with just 4 months to go, it’s time to ask yourself if your business is GDR ready. Because if it’s not, you risk a fine of up to  €20 million. To make sure you don’t fall foul of this, we have a few tips to help you become GDPR compliant before the deadline.

 

Appoint A Data Protection Lead

GDPR isn’t just a few new rules – it’s an all encompassing regulatory change, which means it impact every aspect of your business as you know it. But rather than rolling out a whole bunch of changes and expecting your staff to understand, it’s important for you to assign a data protection lead within your business to deal with questions and issues. It will be their job to create a clear strategy that fosters change in your business, be fully trained in GDPR compliance and have the authority to make changes across the board.

 

Train Your Staff

The next logical step for you is to train your staff. While your data protection lead will be at the forefront of ensuring compliance, everyone within the business needs to understand their obligations under the new regulation, and how they need to modify their own work practices to meet them. It’s vital that every employee is confident in their role, and understand what the regulations mean for their daily processes and interactions with customers. Training should also include discussions of exactly what should happen if a data breach does occur, and the importance of notifying the relevant parties within 72 hours.

 

Audit Your Processes

At the moment, your business will have dozens of process in place for how it handles data, and they will all be compliant with the current regulation. But with the changes, you will need to go back and assess every single aspect of data gathering, storage, use and destruction of confidential, personally identifiable data, and work out if anything needs to change. This full process audit will take time, and undoubtedly need multiple changes for your business. So it’s better done sooner rather than later.

 

Get Your Partners In Place

If you’re a small business, you might not be able to handle it all on your own. There are many businesses out there that offer services to aid you in becoming compliant. From cyber security experts who can help you manage data, to secure destruction experts like us.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we help businesses dispose of their confidential data in a simple, secure and GDPR compliant way. Our shredding sacks allow you to collect paperwork, hard drives and other data storage facilities, and have them collected and disposed of securely, with a certificate of destruction provided at the end. In the run up to GDPR, we are helping business owners across the country put policies in place to tackle the final element of GDPR data handling – the destruction. To find out more, just get in touch with our team today.

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Data Breach? What Do You Do Next?

Did you know that over 2017, 46% of small businesses across the UK reported significant data breaches? For medium sized businesses this rose to 66%, and a staggering 68% of large firms reported similar breaches. This increase in cyber breaches only brings the total value of us to £2.48 million per year. So this raises the question – what is a business supposed to do when they experience a data breach? And with GDPR only implementing more rules around how to handle data breaches, it’s essential that everyone in your business understands what to do in the event of a data breach. To help you out, here are 6 things you need to do.

 

Put A Response Team In Place

As soon as you become aware that there’s been a breach, you need to alert and assemble a response team. If you don’t have one in place, you need to create one. Your response team is essentially a group of people, either internal or external, who have the skills to deal with a breach, fix it and deal with the fallout. This team should have decision making authority, and report to the board on progress regularly. Having an incident response team in place has been proven to be a cost-reducing factor in a huge number of data breaches, large and small, saving on average £12.37 per data record affected.

 

Contain The Problem

When you become aware of it, your second priority should be a containing the problem. Identify the source of the breach as quickly as possible – was it a faulty firewall? Malware? A phishing scam? Or maybe an insider information leak. Once you have identified it, take steps to contain the issue. This could mean isolating a particular area of your network, locating a lost piece of equipment or even just changing the access codes of the front door.

 

Assess The Risks

Now it’s important to determine how sensitive the breached data is, and what the real-time risks are. If it’s a ransomware attack, perhaps the ransomed data is just needed by employees to do their jobs, and there are backup files that can be accessed. Theft of customer data, on the other hand, could lead to identity theft, so you should inform the police if appropriate.

 

Solve The Problem

And obviously, you should ensure you take steps to solve the problem once it’s contained. Again, this depends on what the issue was to begin with, so it will be handled differently every time. Once the breach source has been dealt with, you can take steps to protect your systems from attack in the future.

 

Send Out Notifications

This is the part most businesses don’t want to do, because they are worried it will risk their reputations in the marketplace. But it is a legal requirement for you to notify individuals whose data was, or could have been accessed and affected by the breach, so you’ll have to swallow your pride on this one. Sending out notifications early means your customers have the best chance of protecting their data, so it’s important for them and you to do this swiftly.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we believe that every business should put protecting their customer data at the forefront of their operations. That’s why we provide secure and confidential shredding services to business owners around the country. To learn more about how Hungry Shredder can protect your documents and hard drives, just get in touch with our team today.

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Get Ready For Christmas – Know How To Recycle Your Devices

It’s November, which means the countdown to Christmas has officially begun in the UK. For the more organised people, it means sorting out Christmas presents before the December rush. Maybe even in the Black Friday sales. And one of the most popular gifts this year is new technology. But there is one thing that all of these shiny new devices, and that’s what you do with the old ones? This year, make sure you know how to recycle your old devices, without putting your data at risk.

 

Use The Retailer

 

This is perhaps one of the simplest methods to use. Due to increasing pressure for corporate responsibility, many technology retailers will offer recycling programmes in house. One of the biggest retailers to have this in place is Apple. Since 2014, they have been running a scheme called Renew and Recycle, where you can bring in (or send in) any old Apple products you have (no matter how old they are), and Apple will either recycle them or refurbish and resell them. If they fall into that last category, you will be given an Apple gift card in return for your items. Many of the bigger tech retailers will offer similar schemes, so all you need to do is ask, and it’s as simple as 1 2 3.

  

Wipe It And Sell It

 

One of the most popular options (maybe because the first one isn’t that well known), particularly for phones and tablets, is to sell them on. This can either be privately, online using platforms like eBay or even to re-sellers like Mazuma Mobile. The thing you need to remember in this one is to wipe all of the data from your devices before you sell them on. For mobiles and tablets, this is as simple as just going into the settings and hitting ‘factory reset’. For things like laptops and computers, this will not only mean formatting the hard drives, but removing and shredding them as well.

 

 

WEEE Schemes

 

Your third option is probably best for your older or broken equipment. You know, the kinds that’s been sat in the back of the cupboard for quite a while, just taking up space. The old, chunky TV’s, the broken desktop computer and the ancient tablet. For these, there is the WEEE scheme. WEEE stands for the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive. This is the EU directive that instructs people and business owners to recycle and reuse their old, waste IT through dedicated centres. Every local authority will have a WEEE centre or scheme in place, so it’s simply a case of finding your local centre and taking your equipment to them. There are also businesses like Veolia, who handle the process for you. You will want to ensure that you have wiped any data from your devices or remove your hard drives before you do. There is no reward for you in taking this route, but it is a way of removing that equipment form your home or business without risking your data.

 

At Hungry Shredder, we help businesses and individuals dispose of their old, unused hard drives in the most secure way possible. So instead of ending up with a drawer full of old hard drives, you can ensure your data is safe and your drawers are free. By shredding your hard drives, you are ensuring that any residual data on them (because there is always residual data) is well and truly destroyed. For more information about our hard drive shredding services, just get in touch with our experts today.

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1 Out Of 3 Business Owners Still In The Dark Over GDPR

With only 5 months to go until the implementation of GDPR, new research from the Institute of Directors has revealed that 1 in 3 directors are still in the dark about what the regulation means for them, and what they need to do. In fact, several of them didn’t even know what GDPR was. But GDPR will affect every single element of every single business in the UK – so every business owner needs to understand their obligations. Particularly when it comes to confidential data stored in paper form.

 

Preparation Is Key

 

The key to ensuring you don’t end up on the wrong side of GDPR is preparing your business well in advance. This will mean reviewing your data practices at every level – from the highest level of cyber secured data to the smallest shred of paper with a credit card number scribbled on it while taking payments over the phone. But too many businesses are focussing on the digital side of things, while neglecting other elements of their business that need attention. GDPR will impact not only your IT, but your HR department, legal, marketing, sales, and yes, your paperwork.

 

That’s why Jamie Kerr, Head of External Affairs at the Institute of Directors, said:

 

“It was clear from the outset that this would be a mammoth task for small and large businesses alike, but the scale of the challenge has not necessarily translated into preparedness for the new regulation, despite the huge costs of non-compliance. The Government and the regulator must pull their weight on this issue, as it is set to have a significant impact on businesses across sectors and regions in the UK.

 

“It is crucial everyone understands just how big this regulatory change will be for business leaders over the next few months. GDPR also comes hot on the heels of a number of big regulatory shifts for business over the past few years. We should also not forget the potential of extensive preparations that will be needed as we depart from the EU. Taken altogether, it’s not the easiest time to do business in the UK.”

 

So really, it’s all about understanding how GDPR will impact your business, and actively preparing for it.

 

What’s That Got To Do With Paperwork?

As we mentioned in one of our previous blog, paperwork is one of the main things bosses are forgetting in the run up to GDPR, and yet it’s one of the central principles. Because over 95% of businesses still keep confidential data in paper format. That can be anything from customer credit card numbers to employee national insurance numbers. And with GDPR bringing in stricter rules on what is classified as personal information, and what can be done with it, it’s now more important than ever that business owners get their paperwork in order.

 

While we can’t help you with the in house compliance bit, we can help you handle what happens to your paperwork once it isn’t needed anymore. Rather than risk throwing it in the recycling bin (which would be classified as a breach, as it’s all too easy to steal from) or spend hours hunched over your shredder every few weeks, you can outsource your data destruction instead. Our shredding services simply require you to fill a bag with paper to be destroyed, and then give us a call when it’s full. Our experts will collect it from your offices, securely destroy it for you and even provide a proof of destruction certificate, so you can prove you have met your obligations at every stage. For more information, get in touch with our team today.

 

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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.