Submitted by: Colter Zuba, Administrative Specialist, DocuVault Delaware Valley

It’s About Security

The security of a business’s documents is quickly becoming a major motivating factor behind establishing a working relationship between a company and a document management vendor.    Identity theft has become easy thanks to the internet, camera phones, and archaic disposal practices businesses still use.  The government has enacted privacy legislation in order to curb rampant identity theft practices.  Some of the laws that one should be aware of include:

  • HIPAA  –  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act;  Non compliance penalties could be imprisonment or a fine up to $250,000
  • FACTA – Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act; Non compliance penalties could include fines up to $2,500 per federal violation; $1,000 per state violation.
  • FERPA – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; Non compliance penalties could include removing the Federal Funding from the Institution
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley; Non compliance penalties could include fines of up to $100,000 per violation or imprisonment

These acts deal directly with privacy issues involved with medical records and financial information.  Professionally shredding unwanted sensitive material is a major step in attaining full compliance not only with the legislation listed above, but others as well.

Disadvantages of In-House Shredding

Shredding your documents is a great way of establishing your business as one that is aware of the dangers of identity theft and privacy invasions.  However, there are many facets involved in the method of shredding that you choose that could affect how you are viewed by your customer, the efficiency of your business, and the possibility of penalization.  At first glance, an in-house shredding operation may seem like a smart move.  But, from a cost and logistical standpoint, shredding your materials yourself places you at a disadvantage compared to using a professional document shredding service.

  • Cost: Operating an in-house shredding enterprise is rife with high costs and hidden responsibilities.  Not only will you have to invest in industrial grade equipment (a typical office shredder does not even deserve mention here), but you also have to consider substantially increasing your office space and training your employees. 
  • Penalties: If the safeguards of sufficient equipment and extensively trained employees are not in place, penalties for inadequately protecting your customers’ private information are severe.
  • Material Safety: One of the most important responsibilities of a shredding operation is ensuring the safety of the material after it is shredded.  Most businesses that incorporate in-house shredding put the remnants in a trash bag and place it in a dumpster.  This type of disposal leaves the shredded material exposed to anyone who feels like reaching in and absconding with it.