From On-Site Shredding To Recycling…What You Need To Know About Your Information Disposal Options
Shredding companies offer three types of shredding services, on-site, off-site and remote. All of these services are similar in some respects because your documents and other confidential materials are placed in locked bins and then picked up at your location, by a shredding company driver. Bins are usually provided free of charge and service is scheduled at regular intervals (usually weekly, bi-weekly or monthly). Here is a review of each service.
On Site Shredding
Level of Security- On-site shredding offers the highest level of information security.
The Process- As the name implies, on-site shredding means that all confidential materials are shredded on-site, at your location. Shredding companies that use the new high-tech trucks employ a hydraulic lift that raises a container with your confidential information and everything is shredded in minutes. We do recommend however, that you watch the shredding process from beginning to end, each and every time your materials are shredded. (Some trucks have a camera and video monitor system.) This will insure that all confidential information has indeed been shredded on-site.
Cost- Prices range from $40 to $95 per service.
Conclusion- If you want the highest level of information security, choose a company that is AAA NAID Certified for On-Site Shredding
Level of Security- Off-site shredding is the least secure process that a shredding company can offer.
The Process- You probably know that off-site shredding companies bring your confidential documents back to their facility to be shredded. What you may not know is that off-site shredding companies also make a lot of money by recycling your discarded paper. But in order to get top dollar from the recycling companies, off-site shredding companies must first separate your white documents (like copy paper and stationery) from your colored documents (such as yellow legal paper and file folders). So if you choose an off-site shredding company you can be sure that their employees will hand sort all your confidential documents, allowing unwanted access to your confidential information. This process can expose your customers to identity theft and fraud…and expose your organization to severe fines, bad publicity and lost business.
Cost- Prices are usually lower than on-site shredding. They range from $35 to $55 per service.
Conclusion- If you are willing to sacrifice information security to save some money, off-site shredding may be right for your organization.
Alternatives to Shredding Companies:
Do It Yourself Shredding
Level of Security- Do it yourself shredding offers limited information security.
The Process- Employees get rid of your confidential documents by “feeding the shredder.” But they may leave sensitive documents lying around if they are pulled away to perform other tasks. In addition, most office shredders use a “strip shred” process that can leave large pieces of paper intact.
Cost- It sounds like a cost effective method, but when you consider that the average office shredder only shreds eight pages of paper at once, office shredding can easily take hours of employee time each and every week. Factor in wages and benefits, the initial cost of the shredder, plus upkeep of the equipment (blades have to be professionally sharpened) as well as depreciation of the shredder, do it yourself shredding is not as inexpensive as you may have first thought. (See chart on back to calculate your costs.)
Conclusion- Do it yourself shredding should only be practiced by the smallest of businesses that have few, if any confidential documents that need to be shredded.
Level of Security- None. When a company gives away paper for recycling they relinquish all rights to the information. If confidential information was not properly shredded and it falls into the wrong hands, your organization may be held liable.
The Process- Recycling your confidential documents is a dangerous practice. Here’s why. Most recycling companies hire minimum wage workers who have not undergone criminal background checks or random drug testing. These workers sort your documents, often in unsupervised areas. Then the sorted paper is stored for days, weeks or even months, until there is enough to sell. Your confidential documents, still intact, are then baled and sold to the highest bidder, where they may be stored again for even longer periods, until they are finally used to make new products.
Cost- None. Many recycling firms will pay for your recycled paper.
Conclusion- Never give your confidential documents directly to a recycling company. If you’re concerned about the environment, use a shredding company. (They all recycle.)