If you take a look around you’ll notice that people everywhere are using electronic devices. The world is increasingly digital, as is illustrated by the fact that there are 22.82 million internet users in Australia, that’s a penetration rate for the internet of 89%.
Yet, despite the increasing reliance on digital and the push toward a paperless world, businesses still create thousands of tons of paper waste each year.
Unfortunately, this paper waste cannot simply be discarded or recycled. Much of this waste contains personal information. That means it shows customer names, addresses, numbers, and other facts. In the wrong hands, it can be used to steal people’s identities. That’s another thing that is rising, an estimated 25% of Australians have experienced misuse of their personal information.
In short, a company needs to invest in industrial shredders in order to make sure the data is properly destroyed and can’t be used to steal identities or even trade secrets.
However, there are different options available. You need to understand the differences in order to choose the one that best suits your business.
As the name suggests this is when the papers are shredded off-site. It doesn’t mean you take them to another location and shred them, although that is an option. Off-site shredding means you rely on a company to collect your confidential waste. They then take it to their warehouse and shred it using large shredders that are guaranteed to destroy all the information.
This type of shredding is often referred to as secure shredding services and the actual shredding is undertaken by a different company. They should provide you with a certificate of destruction to confirm all the documents have been properly destroyed.
In contrast, on-site shredding is handled by you and your employees. It means the company has to invest in a high-quality industrial shredder. This is essential if you want to destroy the documents properly.
Although industrial shredders are moderately expensive, they are a one-off purchase and generally, over time, will work out cheaper than off-site shredding. Of course, you and your staff will be responsible for physically shredding every document. You’ll have to decide if this is a dedicated process, or done on an ad-hoc basis.
Choosing between On & Off-Site
The first thing you need to consider is the convenience factor. It is easier to put all your shredding into a bag and have a shredding firm collect it once a week or month. The alternative is for your staff to shred as they finish with a document or create a shredding pile that is done at the end of each day.
It’s worth noting that allowing shredding to build up can make it harder for anyone to deal with it and increases the chance of it not being disposed of properly. To help with this you may need a dedicated shredding person, ensuring you stay on top of all the shredding.
While this is less convenient it’s worth noting that it can be more secure. Off-site shredding services should provide you with a disposal certificate. However, the reality is that you are trusting the service to shred your documents. You don’t know how quickly this happens or even if they are shredded properly.
It could even be that the off-site shredding firm has a backlog and allows your documents to sit for a week or two, leaving them vulnerable to theft.
In addition, you can check the staff working for an off-site shredder, it’s possible that the staff will remove pertinent details t help themselves or others.
Choosing the in-house option means that you have complete control of the shredding process and can reassure your customers that their data is being properly looked after.
Considering your business reputation can be easily destroyed by the loss of personal information, this is one situation where investing in your own shredders and the necessary manpower could be beneficial to your business.
Off-site shredding may be more cost-effective in the short term and certainly seems easier. But, when you’re dealing with the reputation of your business and the security of customer information, you really can’t be too careful.