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Three Common Data Disposal Mistakes That Can Lead to Identity Theft and Business Fraud

No one is perfect, that’s for sure. But it pays to be on-point when it comes to disposing of sensitive business data, especially considering the potential consequences of identity theft and business fraud:

  • legal and regulatory non-compliance
  • loss of customer confidence
  • bad publicity
  • damaged reputation

You can avoid these negative outcomes by being aware of three common data disposal mistakes.

Failure to Shred

Procrastination plays a big part when it comes to securely disposing of confidential material. A higher priority is usually placed on revenue-generating tasks. And when you consider the amount of time it takes to feed documents through a shredding machine, it’s easy to see why. Instead, no longer needed paperwork and expired documents get set aside, often on desktops or in boxes, to be shredded later. Days, weeks and even months can go by before bank statements, credit card receipts and other sensitive business data is destroyed. In addition to increasing identity theft and business fraud risks, you may be running afoul of your legal obligation to destroy confidential information within a certain timeframe.

Heavy Reliance on Shredding Machines

Even those who are more diligently using an office shredding machine are still at risk. Shredding to right particle size is crucial to rendering sensitive data unrecognizable. Most consumer-grade shredding equipment shreds documents into strips or large particles which can be reconstructed. And because these machines are prone to breakdowns and malfunction, they’re not always operable precisely when a document needs to be shredded.

Forgetting to Destroy Computer Media Assets

It’s not all about shredding confidential paper documents. Computer media assets such as expired backup tapes and hard drives can contain a wealth of sensitive information that would be a jackpot for a thief. Many organizations will degauss magnetic media storage devices and then throw them away whole. However, by doing only that they are missing a several crucial steps that reduce the chances that their data will be compromised.

In addition to a degaussing process, layers of eradication and delamination should also be applied to erase all digital data. Then, magnetic media should be ground into small particles. In fact any non-paper media that may contain confidential data should be physically destroyed:

  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Audio and video tapes
  • Floppy disks
  • Zip drives

The easier and more expedient, reliable and thorough data disposal is, the less prone your company is to a data breach. For paper records, a professional shredding service can help ensure that confidential documents and files are disposed of in a timely and secure manner. Based on your company’s individual document disposal needs, your shredding vendor may offer the following options:

  • Offsite shredding
  • Onsite mobile shredding
  • One-time purge service

The right shredding and destruction company with the right capabilities can also provide you with a media and hard drive destruction solution for securely destroying your computer media assets. In short, avoiding data disposal mistakes comes down to taking advantage of the right resources.

Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area with professional shredding and destruction solutions. To find out more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.