Shredding our own personal and confidential documents is something that a lot of small businesses consider a necessary task, owing to the increased risk from identity theft. There are many ways of going about this – official shredding, professional shredding and shredding in house using a little shredder sitting by your desk.
Many think that shredding their personal documents at home makes it totally confidential. Don’t come to that conclusion too soon. If you are a small-medium business, think about all the time your employees spend shredding their documents. Put a dollar figure against that time spent and you’ll know that shredding is not exactly free even if done in-house. Think about the risk from possible reconstruction of shredded material. Read our article about Unshredding to know that we aren’t kidding. Expecially if you are a medical practice, deal with insurance of loan documents, then the chances are that there are people waiting by your dumpster to get a glimpse into your clients’ personal information.
The HIPAA act requires witnessed shredding with a certificate. You are in violation if your employees are not following accurate shredding procedures and documenting what was shredded and when. Think about disposal methods that HIPAA requires. Think about maintenance costs including electricity, disposal containers, space and so on. Are you really efficient and compliant? Can your business afford not to be compliant? When you contract with a professional shredding company, they protect you from all these risks and let you and your employees focus on what you do best – your business.
The home shredder shreds the paper in two forms, ribbon-cut or cross-cut. Hence, it’s very easy to reconstruct the documents easily as explained in our Unshredding article. Software has made this process child’s play. But, when the same carried by contractors the papers are shredded to dist hence the risk of reconstruction is negligible.
Disposing the shredded papers plays a major role. The shredded papers must be stuffed inside the disposal containers which is locked and keyed. There are chances of putting the shreds in recycle bins which has to be restricted strictly. The amount of papers given and the papers shredded has to be monitored. When the operator is accused, there won’t be any record or witness to acknowledge the theft. The home shredded documents are at high risk of reconstruction; hence the paper shredded was not appreciated.
In summary the shredding of confidential documents at your desk or at home can be a security and HIPAA compliance risk. Do not hesitate to contact a professional shredding company to ask for a quote, you will be relieved to be sure that you are doing the right thing by protecting yourself from lawsuits and your customers from identity theft.