Last updated on January 8, 2023
As hard as we’ve tried, the world has not gone paperless yet. There’s just something very tangible and satisfying about handling paper that can’t be matched by staring at a computer screen.
But because paper is still prevalent in today’s office, we need to ensure that papers with confidential information or those containing personal information aren’t simply tossed into a recycling bin once they’re done with.
That’s because once your organization’s trash hits the streets it becomes public property.
To avoid a privacy breach and having sensitive information leak to the public (or to your competitors), implement a document destruction policy as soon as possible.
What is a Document Destruction Policy?
A document destruction policy directs all your organization’s employees to securely dispose of documents when they are no longer needed.
Instead of putting documents into a waste basket or recycling bin, employees must use a secure method of destroying documents to ensure that no confidential data or personal information ever leaves the organization and into the wrong hands.
Why Implement a Document Destruction Policy?
A document destruction policy should be implemented because of the numerous benefits it offers your organization.
Compliance with the Law
Depending on your organization and its industry, a document destruction policy can help it become compliant with legislation such as:
- Gramm Leach Bliley
- Sarbanes Oxley
- PIPEDA Principles
Protects Business Assets
Your organization can spend hundreds of thousands on computer security, but what stops one of your employees from printing confidential data and putting it into the waste basket?
A document shredding policy protects your organization’s trade secrets, client lists, account information, policies and procedures, and financials.
Minimizes the Chances of a Privacy Breach
Your organization does not want to be responsible for an embarrassing privacy breach. Organizations must understand that personal information is a liability and it must be disposed of properly.
How To Implement a Document Destruction Policy
The best way to securely destroy documents is to employ a third-party shredding partner. Your organization can choose to use small personal shredders, but operating these are time-consuming and frequently get jammed and require maintenance. These can be used if your office is small (e.g. less than 15 people).
Employing a third-party shredding partner offers numerous benefits. It allows your organization to outsource a necessary, but very time-consuming task, and many provide lockable bins that only need to be serviced when full. When it is time to empty the bins, your documents are shredded effortlessly on-site.
Communication is Key
When implementing a document destruction policy, don’t forget to clearly communicate its importance throughout your organization. People must know why it’s important, and that is best led by example. Ensure that everyone, including senior management, takes the policy seriously.
Has your organization successfully implemented a document destruction policy? If so, feel free to share your experience in the comments.
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