Should You Be Shredding Your Documents While Working Remotely?

Even before many of us worked remotely, the risk of identity theft, fraud, or a data breach was real. Now, with even more sensitive documents within our reach, it’s time to rethink how we can protect our information.

“A data breach can result in large fines and permanent damage to a company’s brand,” says Emma Morrissey, Print Solutions Manager at Staples. According to a 2018 Ponemon Institute study, discarded materials in trash cans or recycling bins accounted for 88 percent of data breaches. With this in mind, shredding is the preferred and secure method of disposing personal and business documents.

“By virtue of working from home there is an increased risk of identity theft, improper destruction and safeguarding of personal information. Employees do not have the proper tools and resources at home for the destruction of paper records in a safe and secure manner,” says Philip Graham, Senior Associate with Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto. “A breach could happen by simply leaving a work file in your car.”

A certified Information Privacy Professional, Graham suggests that businesses consider outsourcing the destruction of documents to third-party professionals. Staples Solutionshop offers three types of secure shredding services to suit any small or large business.

In-store shredding: Best for smaller quantities that can be dropped off at a local Staples store where they’re weighed and put into secure bins. The benefits besides security? Clearing out old documents, invoices and bills will create more space in your home office.

One-time pickup: This is your best option for a large clear-out. Iron Mountain, Staples’ shredding partner, can pick up boxes, or provide bins and return for pick up. You’ll want to save this service for when you’re undertaking that Marie Kondo-inspired purge.

Recurring subscription: Mainly for larger businesses that continuously produce loads of paper that don’t need to be stored. Locked and empty bins are placed in customers’ offices, which are then picked up by Iron Mountain for shredding.

Should it stay or should it go?

According to Graham, the documents that should be destroyed are ones where personal information was collected, but the purpose for collecting it is no longer relevant, or as directed where it’s mandated for a longer period of time. “Businesses who collect or store personal information of an individual must maintain clear and comprehensive policies and procedures around when and how to dispose of any documents or records.”

At home, dispose of documents that have personal information like credit card statements, bills and old income tax returns (you only need to keep these for one to two years). Keep items like certifications; deeds; licenses; as well as recent social security statements; tax and warranty receipts; and insurance policy, bank and retirement plan statements.

Solutionshop is secure

Solutionshop offers the ultimate in shredding, meaning it takes everything from papers of any size or colour, to magazines and file folders. With this method of shredding, there’s no need to remove staples, paper clips, rubber bands or small binder coils. “All material is brought to a secure facility to be shredded twice and destroyed in order to meet all industry regulations. From there, materials are brought to the paper mill for pulping,” says Morrissey. NOTE: Destruction and recycling of plastics such as CDs, ID badges, X-rays, packing material and hardware (computer, photocopier and printer parts) are also available, but must be collected separately.

Shredding saves you time and money, and is eco-friendly

“Iron Mountain recycles 100 percent of the material collected,” says Morrissey. “All paper goes to a mill for pulping, rather than a landfill. This is then used to create all new kinds of paper products.” A shredding service, compared to an at-home shredder, eliminates mistakes and potential security issues, and ultimately saves employees valuable time. “Simply placing material in a locked bin is faster than having to feed pages through a shredder, which frees up employees’ time so they can do actual work.”

By Staples Canada

June 18, 2021

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