As a business owner, you’ll quickly learn that you have to be diligent and shred documents with sensitive information on them. Today’s article will explain the importance of properly disposing of documents according to compliance law regulations, and what could happen if you don’t.
Sometimes, leaving a single receipt from the ATM can lead to identity theft.
As a matter of fact, there are about 16.7 million identity theft cases in the United States in 2017 alone. This amounts to nearly $17 billion worth of lost data.
This can be due to various reasons: online data piracy, losing your wallet, or improper disposal of documents with pertinent information.
Do you throw away your credit card bill in the trash can? That’s a huge no-no. People who go dumpster diving can use the information there for fraud and other crimes.
Similarly, businesses that don’t practice proper disposal are at a higher risk.
With that said, what’s the best way to throw away a document? By using a paper shredder first.
Here’s a run-down of reasons why getting one is important for your company.
Why You Need a Paper Shredder
There are a lot of ways to dispose of paper but using a paper shredder is the most secure way. It protects the company and its clients, but it’s beneficial in more ways than one.
Here are why you should get a paper shredder for your office.
For Business Security Measures
The most important function of a paper shredder is the disposing of documents containing sensitive information in a quick and secure way.
When you simply throw the papers away in a trash can, there’s the risk of other people snooping around and obtaining confidential details. Even individuals are vulnerable to privacy breaches because of throwing their bills into their trash cans. Can you imagine how large the risk is for a company?
When you make your company’s data illegible, you eliminate these information risks. In turn, you protect your company’s sensitive details, as well as those of your employees, customers, and clients. They deserve to have that kind of privacy and security.
To Save Space and Time
When you and your employees have established of shredding paper they don’t need anymore, you get rid of the papers that would otherwise pile up in drawers and storage rooms. You make room for other important things, like another desk for your computer.
Furthermore, paper shredders reduce the size of your office’s paper waste, reducing the space needed and the stress in handling it.
A paper shredder also works fast. It shreds a paper in seconds, saving more time than other disposal methods. Your employees will be able to spend their time doing actual work as they can simply rip the papers to shreds as soon as they don’t need them anymore.
The time it takes to completely shred a paper depends on the model, so make sure you get high-quality shredder blades, like Miheu.
It’s the Law
To put it simply, do it because it’s in the rules. The legislation is getting stricter regarding the privacy and security due to a high number of different types of security breaches, which compromises the personal information of individuals and leaves them vulnerable to identity theft and other crimes.
The responsibility of protecting the individual’s information lies in themselves and in the companies they give them to. The moment you ask for their personal details, you have the duty to protect them from threats.
Complying with the regulations won’t only lessen your company’s risks, it will also save you from paying huge penalties for not complying.
Now that we’ve mentioned the law, let’s review which regulatory acts and laws you need to know about.
The federal government passed the privacy law Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996. This law dictates that all healthcare providers must protect the privacy of the Personal Health Information (PHI) of all Americans and the unauthorized disclosure of them.
In 1984, Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1986. It has since undergone many revisions to suit the current technological landscape. It focuses on banning unauthorized access to digital confidential information and other restricted data, which is punishable by fines or imprisonment.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act came about in 1999, which regulates the way that financial institutions and businesses handle their clients’ data. It has 2 sections: the Financial Privacy Rule, which focuses on the collection and disclosure of the customers’ financial details, and the Safeguards Rule, which pushes institutions to put up security measures to protect the information.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 aims to reduce the risk for identity theft and fraud due to the improper disposal of information by companies who collect them from customers. The Disposal Rule indicates that business should discard the documents containing customer information by burning, pulverizing, or shredding.
By using a paper shredder and implementing policies and procedures in your company regarding the security and proper disposal of documents, you stay safe from getting penalties for not
Of course, that should be a given since all businesses must strive to protect their customers’ data, lest they face the same backlash that Facebook received.
What Would Happen if You Don’t Shred Papers?
Aside from the government imposing fines and penalties on your company, you risk dealing with lawsuits, competitive information leak, and reputation damage.
When news about your inadequate protection measures breaks out, get your lawyer because you’ll face a bunch of lawsuits. You’ll lose a lot of money in fines, legal costs, and settlement fees. Not to mention the damage it will cause your reputation.
Many will see your business as untrustworthy, which will push them toward your competition instead. If you’re a consumer, you’d lean more on a bank or other companies that haven’t failed in protecting their customers, right?
Your company’s information may also fall into the wrong hands (into your competitors). They’ll know of your plans, some trade secrets, your list of customers, and other information. They can take advantage of these to give their company a boost and damage yours.
Protect Your Data and Secure Your Business
Now you know how a paper shredder will protect your company, clients, and customers. Check out our other articles for more business advice to keep your company secure and operating smoothly.