What to Shred – Paper Document and Digital Data Shredding Tips

Shred those Documents and Stay Green
November 29, 2016
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What to Shred – Paper Document and Digital Data Shredding Tips

Help Prevent ID Theft - Call Security Data Destruction - 602-272-0636

Help Prevent ID Theft – Call Security Data Destruction –


Institutional and business computer data breaches that lead to customer ID theft is constantly in the news these days, with Yahoo’s recent announcement that hackers stole information on 500 million customer accounts being both the latest big ID theft headline and perhaps the biggest hack ever. And while companies, institutions and the public increasingly focus on protecting their computer systems from hackers, Security Data Destruction notes that ID theft from unsecured and improperly-disposed-of paper documents remains a serious threat. It may seem low-tech, but identity thieves via “dumpster diving” are still able to steal significant amounts of confidential and important identifying details from improperly-discarded paper documents. Thus, it is vitally important that businesses, institutions and individuals consistently utilize document destruction methods, such as document shredding, prior to disposing of paper waste.

Security Data Destruction recommends that just about all paper waste should undergo shredding; however, most companies, institutions and individuals separate their streams of waste paper. And this begs the question of what documents need to be shredded. Individuals should generally shred anything containing personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, bills, bank account information, medical statements, cancelled checks, tax notices, and credit card information. Even if identifying information may not be readily apparent, individuals should destroy ATM receipts, credit card receipts, old warranty documents, and airline tickets. In short, individuals should consider shredding anything that can possibly be linked to a specific individual, even something as simple as a signature, birth date, telephone number, or any number or letter sequence used as an identifier or for business tracking purposes. And while this means that newspapers and magazines certainly don’t need to be shredded, any identifying labels should be.

Businesses and institutions should essentially follow that same mantra with regard to document destruction relating to their employees and customer base. But companies and institutions also need to protect proprietary information and various details related to operations. They are also responsible for complying with numerous laws dictating the protection of customer and employee information, with significant penalties and the potential for large civil liability judgements for non-compliance. Thus, it’s not really a matter of what documents to destroy, but more a case of determining which portions of the paper waste stream don’t need to undergo document destruction. As suggested above, Security Data Destruction believes that all paper waste, with the exception perhaps of newspapers, magazines, and food packaging, needs to be shredded to ensure company/institutional peace of mind and compliance with the various laws.

Along with any possible paper identity trails, dumpster diving identity thieves eagerly seek out computer hard drives, thumb drives, memory sticks, disks, and other storage units. While most people believe that degaussing—the process of deleting computerized data by magnetic erasing—successfully destroys data on computer hard drives and storage units, the process is not foolproof and sometimes leaves data accessible. Additionally, computer hackers have become increasingly effective at securing residual digital data from degaussed computer hard drives and storage units.

In order to thoroughly ensure that information on computer hard drives, thumb drives, memory sticks and other storage devices can’t be retrieved upon disposal, all such data storage tools should undergo hard drive shredding. Don’t rely solely on erasure by degaussing, but ensure that all important data is destroyed by hard drive shredding.

Operating in all of Arizona, the qualified experts at Security Data Destruction can take care of all of your document and hard drive destruction, to ensure the protection of your business, customers and employees.   Help Prevent ID Theft – Call Security Data Destruction – 602-272-0636

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