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5 best practices for data destruction your St. Petersburg company must adopt

Businesses in the thriving St. Petersburg community maintain a lot of private, crucial and sensitive information—and much of it exists on outdated documentation that’s marked for destruction. But whether through carelessness or malicious intent, a lot of that data gets into the hands of compromising entities before it gets to the shredder.

To prevent the legal and ethical complications that arise from data breaches, St. Petersburg companies need to ensure their data destruction process is air-tight, thorough, and all-inclusive. Here are five policies regarding data destruction that every business should adopt.

 

1. Limit access

Most data breaches don’t begin with outside entities hacking into your system or breaking into your confidential files—rather, they typically come from inside the office.

These incidents are often the result of mistakes, not necessarily nefarious intentions of sneaky employees. Directives regarding confidentiality are misunderstood, documents are left exposed on desks or in public places, or private details inadvertently get blurted out. It’s human error, and it happens. Of course, you also may have disreputable or disgruntled workers who think they have something to gain, but it’s important to remember that accidents take place too.

For that reason, it’s best to keep the number of eyes and hands on your company’s data to a minimum at the outset. The group that handles, observes, and executes shredding and data destruction should be especially small.

 

2. Include every scrap

Every bit of paper, physical or virtual, potentially bears confidential information. This includes obvious candidates like spreadsheets, reports, and meeting notes. But it could also include seemingly innocuous, small items, like post-its with phone numbers, scratch pads with informal calculations—even outdated employee manuals, event calendars, or takeout restaurant menus.

It might seem like overkill, but best practice dictates that you include every scrap possible in your shredding policy. Even if the chances that they include privileged information are remote, just one overlooked piece of paper can cause irreparable damage. Shred ‘em all.

 

3. Don’t give away old technology

There’s a lengthy list of old computer equipment that companies no longer employ in any meaningful capacity: CD-ROMs, DVDs, magnetic tape, printers, and those practically prehistoric floppy disks and hard drives. What’s the harm in letting these devices go home with employees and saving them from the shredder?

Plenty. Just because an old form of digital storage can no longer be easily extracted doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Whatever remaining scraps of digital data remaining on outdated equipment can still be mined by people with enough know-how and time on their hands. No matter how inaccessible old tech might seem, it needs to be destroyed—hardware, software, and all.

 

4. Keep a regular shredding schedule (and stick to it)

The longer a pile of sensitive documents sticks around, the bigger it gets, the more inconvenient it becomes, and the harder it is to know when data thieves steal from it. That’s why a shredding program is best served by a frequent destruction schedule, one that keeps the accumulation rate down and makes organization easier.

Make shredding an ingrained part of your weekly (or more) office maintenance routine, and always make sure it gets done at the prescribed time.

 

5. Maintain destruction records

In many areas, destroying sensitive data is a legal requirement to maintain privacy and confidentiality. It’s important enough that a company may even face an information audit to prove that they’ve sufficiently gotten rid of data. Just like in tax audits, getting through this process is much easier if you provide the proper documentation.

Keep all records of your shredding and data destruction activities. A shredding company can provide you an official certificate of destruction that verifies your deletion activities to all legal entities—make sure you get one, scan it into your digital records, and keep the physical copy on file.

 

ShredQuick helps companies in the St. Petersburg area through each step of data destruction. Our experts can help you build and execute removal strategies that will keep your business in order and limit your legal exposure. Contact ShredQuick to find out how they can help.

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