Security implications are significant. Identity theft, corporate espionage and dumpster diving are rampant. Documents can certainly be reconstructed via multiple methods (i.e. manual processes), and there is even software available that boasts this capability as well. However, the effort and investment of implementing an enforcement strategy to any Records and Information Management program pales in comparison to the cost of having to replace lost documents or mounting legal defenses as a result of improperly/not properly securing information.
How are the shredded remains of documents disposed of safely? Does some of it get recycled?
After a document’s lifecycle has run its course, it must be properly destroyed. There are countless ways to improperly do away with obsolete physical and digital documents, and the end result can be catastrophic. Knowing who is responsible for handling, transporting and destroying is critical to avoiding the nightmares associated with improperly discarded documents. As mentioned before, I would strongly recommend use of professional third party Secure Destruction providers to ensure a closed loop chain of custody process, secure vehicles & facilities, along with industrial shred equipment. The majority of material, particularly paper, is indeed recycled but it is important to note that the transport of the shredded material must be secure up to the time it is delivered to a mill and de-inked and re-pulped.
There has recently been an incident involving shredded confidential documents belonging to Nassau County Police Department being showered down on spectators of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Since then, there has been no official explanation on how that was allowed to happen. Have you followed the situation and know the answer to that question? If not, how do you think this incident may have happened?
We have absolutely followed this incident and while it has not been made public as to how this occurred, my educated guess would be that the material was shredded but was not sent to a paper mill to be properly and securely recycled. It is critical that any organization has a complete understanding of what will happen with its confidential material after it has been shredded, which doesn’t necessarily mean it has been securely destroyed. Because information comes in so many forms today, keeping documents secure is infinitely more challenging than it once was. However, failure to protect critical information places a business’s financial livelihood and reputation at stake. The phrase “security breach” can be defined in a number of ways in today’s business environment, but knowing what files you have, where they are located and the information those files contain helps to drastically reduce the risk of critical information being altered without detection.
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