More than one company has had to notify customers of a breach in the security of private information due to misuse of confidential waste. Every business from banks to restaurants to major credit card providers have gone on record with public notifications and apologies when private data has been released into the hands of the unauthorized. Governmental agencies have lost laptops through theft and other means that have contained critical information on them that could be misused by those with criminal intent. By far, however, it is simply paper documents and data disks that end up in the wrong hands.
Document and Data Destruction Protocols
Many new and established businesses grow into the necessity of developing protocols to handle waste materials that are of a confidential nature. It could be anything from medical records to printouts or CDs containing customer account data. The “nothing has ever happened yet” mindset leads to complacency in trusting antiquated means of handling confidential waste that can lead to a large scale theft and irreparable damage. Proof of negligence could lead to both criminal charges and civil litigation that could bankrupt even a large company in short order.
Every company, whether small or an industry giant, needs to not only have protocols in place that are secure and inviolate when it comes to the destruction of sensitive information but regularly reexamine the protocols in place to be certain they are still viable and effective.
There are industry standards that lead to a measure of protection in the courts. Exceeding industry standards provides further protection against anyone ever being able to successfully bring an accusation of negligence. We live in a litigious society. Even if the lost or stolen confidential customer information does not result in loss of money but is rather just a loss of privacy, there will be powerful law firms that will bring class action lawsuits in an attempt to seek damages. The harm to a company’s reputation in the minds of its own customers will never recover once the deed is done, regardless if anyone gets sued.
The Best Method of Document and Data Destruction
A company could hire and train in-house personnel to handle the task of destroying data. However, the best method is to hire an agency already established to do the job. Check their references and every step of the security protocols they follow when it comes to destroying everything from documents to CDs to old hard drives from obsolete computers.
The company should provide locked containers that act as receptacles for the confidential waste. The containers should be transported locked to the destruction facility. Be sure to know what will happen to the information scheduled to be destroyed every step of the way. The paper shredding company should also be ready to advise clients as to their hiring policies for those who will handle the data.
Never forget that there are those with criminal intent who would like noting more than a company to take a lackadaisical approach to handling sensitive customer information. Do not make it easy for them to destroy a good business overnight.