The Essential Guide to Document Destruction
The Essential Guide to Document Destruction: What Every Business Needs to Know. In today’s digital world, keeping documents for an extended period of time is challenging. Unnecessary or sensitive documents shouldn’t be kept for longer than required because they pose a security risk. Additionally, if these documents are stored digitally, there’s the risk that hackers could access the information. To avoid these risks and make document management more streamlined, businesses need to implement a document destruction process. A document destruction process ensures that sensitive information isn’t accessible in any way after it has been destroyed. Keep reading to understand why your business needs a document destruction process and what you can do to create one.
Why Every Business Needs a Document Destruction Process
It’s important for every business to have a solid document destruction process in place because it protects against sensitive information leaks. A leak of sensitive information could lead to a breach of customer trust. Additionally, it could incur significant financial penalties, regulatory fines, and reputational damage. To best protect against these issues, every business should have a detailed and strict document destruction process.
In addition to protecting against leaks, a document destruction process can also help to make the document management process more streamlined. Businesses likely have a lot of documents, including paper and digital records. A proper document destruction process ensures that sensitive documents aren’t kept for long periods of time. In some industries, document retention laws make it mandatory to have a document destruction process. This is especially true in regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, and government. These industries have strict rules about how long certain documents should be kept and how they should be stored.
What is a Document Destruction Process?
A document destruction process is the way your business disposes of and destroys documents. It’s important to note that there’s a difference between the term’s “destruction” and “storage.” A document destruction process is only used when documents are no longer needed. A document storage process, on the other hand, is used when documents are no longer needed but a business still needs to keep them for an extended period of time. A document destruction process is also known as document shredding. A document shredding service is an option to help businesses implement their document destruction process. You can find document shredding services in your area by searching online or asking your business’s HR department for recommendations.
How to Create a Document Destruction Process
The first step in creating a document destruction process is determining which documents you need to store of or destroy. The best way to do this is by creating a list of all the documents and records your business has. This list should include paper, digital, and any other types of records your business has. After you’ve created your initial list, you can begin to categorize the documents into two groups: storage and can destroy.
The storage documents are the ones that are no longer for business but must be kept accessible for a period of years afterwards, automobile dealerships, financial institutions, healthcare, etc. all have legal requirements to retain documents for a period of years after the service or transaction has been completed. As such, they are the most sensitive and contain the most private information thus must be kept in a locked storage area with limited access. The can destroy documents are the ones that can be shredded immediately because they are either a copy or not required to be retained.
When Are Documents Destructed?
There are two main times when businesses should destroy documents. The first time is immediately after a document is created. This means that once a document is no longer needed or relevant, it should be disposed of. The second time is at the end of every business cycle or period. This includes the end of a project, the end of a fiscal year, or the end of a contract. For example, your business is most likely required to keep tax documents for an extended period of time, but copies of those documents can be destroyed immediately.
Which Documents Should Be Included in Your Process?
How to Destroy Documents
There are several different ways you can destroy documents, including burning, shredding, and pulping. The best method for your business is to hire a third party commercial document destruction company.
This will provide you with peace of mind knowing the documents were destroyed according to current laws, regulations, and technology. Also when you use a professional document destruction company you will receive a Certificate-of-Destruction for your records which offers another layer of protection for your business.
Five Facts You Should Know About Document Destruction
- The longer a document is kept, the more likely it is to be compromised.
- There are government regulations dictating how long certain documents must be kept.
- Information is everywhere. Who has access to what, can they print a duplicate? What happens to that duplicate document?
- Destruction is a Mandate for many businesses
- Recycling supports our environment
It’s important for every business to have a proper document destruction process in place. A document destruction process ensures that private documents are disposed of properly. It also helps to make the document management process more streamlined. Contact Bio-MED Confidential Document Destruction Services with any questions or for a quote on services.