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How to choose a shredding provider

Written by on March 29, 2016

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confidential shredding

Anecdotally, you probably suspect identity theft is on the rise from the numbers of stories you hear. It is likely most of us know someone who has been affected, even if we haven’t personally.

Unfortunately the official figures also back that up. The Office for National Statistics show that from June 2014 to July 2015 there were almost 600,000 fraud offences took place. The body Cifas reported that in the first three months of last year alone, identity theft figures were up a worrying third on the same period the year before.

credit card fraudster

Identity theft costs the economy billions every year, and that is why the Data Protection Act is in place to ensure businesses of all sizes take proper care of the data they possess – or risk huge fines. Small businesses need to comply just the same as multinationals. All companies should have a confidential waste management strategy in place – and make sure that everyone understands and follows it.

The obligation is on businesses to shred not only financial or other ‘personal’ information, but anything which has any form of customer or employee details within it. This can include emails, CVs, customer records – the list is endless. Bear in mind recycling, or ripping up the paper before binning it, is not enough – it must be shredded in order to ensure the data is completely disposed of.

The same rules apply whether this information is in hard or soft copy – so even if the data is just saved electronically, bear in mind hard drives, memory sticks and back-ups must also be safely destroyed. Wiping the data alone may not be enough.

data protection

Also bear in mind the Data Protection Act covers the whole process of disposal, including how you store information before its destruction. The waste should be kept in a lockable, secure unit until it is shredded.

So if you are looking to choose a company to help with your confidential waste disposal, what should you bear in mind? Here’s some tops tips from McCarthy’s Safe Shred.

  • Get personal recommendations or ask for references, which any reputable company should be happy to provide. How long have they been operating?
  • Will the organisation provide you with lockable consoles to store your waste in until it is ready to be disposed of?
  • Does the company take away the waste and destroy it off-site, or if you would rather it was shredded on-site? If it’s off-site, what security measures are in place at the facility?
  • Will you be charged a fixed price, or by time or weight?
  • Can you set up a regular shredding service, or do you just want it ad hoc, when you feel it is needed?
  • Use company with an appropriate accreditation, such as McCarthy’s, so you can be confident your waste is being handled safely and appropriately.
  • Does the company provide a Certificate of Destruction as proof?
  • Will you have a dedicated account manager? Are all personnel security checked? Will uniformed staff turn up to collect the waste, and will they carry ID?
  • Can the company dispose of electrical confidential waste, as well as paper?
  • Does the company recycle your waste after it has been shredded? Ask if you can receive a recycling certificate, which can be used towards obtaining accreditations such as ISO’s. Some companies will ship their recycling abroad, which isn’t as environmentally friendly as recycling it in the UK. All of the waste McCarthy’s shreds goes to UK mills to produce toilet rolls!

 

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