Earlier this year, thousands of financial documents containing names, dates of birth, phone numbers, addresses, and bank information were found in a dumpster in Orlando by a scrap metal collector. While the story may have ended differently had he been an identity thief, authorities were notified and the personal information ended up in safe hands.
Sadly, lots of confidential information still ends up in the garbage can. Now is a good time to think about spring cleaning, including hosting or participating in Community Shred-it events to clean up your security by protecting confidential data that every business and household needs to get rid of at some point.
Workplaces are encouraged to partner with a trustworthy document destruction company that has a secure chain of custody and protects information from disposal into locked consoles to secure on- or off-site shredding.
For households, experts recommend shredding personal papers before recycling. Or, watch for community shredding events. When Shred-it holds Community Shred-it events, neighborhood residents are invited to have their important documents securely destroyed for a minimal fee or a donation to a local charity.
Here are 5 reasons to clean up your security this Spring with a Community Shred-it event:
- Risk of data breaches. Tossing confidential data into the garbage increases the risk of a data breach. The number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2016 hit an all-time record high of 1,093, according to a new report released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). That’s a 40% increase over the near record high of 780 reported in 2015.
- It’s the law. Whether you are a small business working out of the house, or a large corporation, privacy laws require that confidential information is protected from creation to disposal. Non-compliance can result in fines and other penalties.
- Efficiency. There’s an increased risk of a data breach when a workplace is cluttered with loose papers and files. Clutter also sends a message of incompetence, which affects reputation and work morale. A Clean Desk Policy requires employees to protect confidential data at their work stations and in common areas such as meeting rooms and photo-copy machines. A decluttered home is tidier and more secure too.
- Bad habits. For years people have thrown paper documents into the garbage. But information thieves are everywhere, and in most places it’s not illegal to dumpster dive. A thought-out document management system helps sort and file confidential information while instilling better handling habits. When information is no longer needed, it must be securely destroyed.
- Protect the environment. Recycling is important but confidential information should never be thrown as-is into the recycling bin. Bins are often left unattended, and information may be stolen en route to a recycling facility. In the workplace, a document destruction partner will replace recycling bins with locked consoles for documents that are no longer needed and schedule regular secure shredding. Once documents are shredded, they are bundled and sent for recycling.
Today, you don’t have to choose between recycling and secure document destruction. A leading document destruction company does both.