The 3 Most Important Elements of Document Destruction

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When it comes to the destruction of old documents or files, it’s easy to assume that one provider is just as good as another. After all, it’s just shredding, so there can’t possibly be that much variation, right? We’re here to tell you: there’s more to it than meets the eye.

There are several elements that are essential to a successful, confidential shredding appointment. Unfortunately, not all shredding companies offer them, or provide them to the extent that you need. When you know what you’re looking for, picking a shredding provider is much easier. That’s why today, we thought it would be beneficial to examine the three most important elements of document destruction. 

1. Security of the Process

Shredding your documents means absolutely nothing if the shredding process itself puts them at risk. When every piece of information can be used or abused, it’s worth your time to make sure that the company handling it is taking every precaution to prevent unauthorized eyes from seeing or handling the data. A good shredding provider will have a strict chain of custody in place for both their scheduled and purge shredding services, which means they’ll have invested in the training of their employees and put time and effort into the development of their internal information management system to ensure it meets the latest state and federal privacy regulations.

The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) offers AAA Certification to companies who meet or exceed these standards, so when you’re looking for a shredding provider, NAID AAA Certification is a good indicator of a company who will take the security of your information as seriously as you do. In fact, a good shredding company will have procedures in place to track your documents even after they’ve been shredded, and won’t relinquish control of them until they’ve been deposited at a secure recycling provider for processing.

2. Size of the Shred Particles

There’s a reason why off-the-rack home and office shredders just don’t do the job. You’ve probably seen several that shred papers into long, spaghetti-like strips, and you probably already know that for a thief with plenty of time, these spaghetti strips aren’t too hard to piece back together. That’s why legislation like HIPAA and FACTA require that personally identifying information (PII) be processed in such a way that the resulting particles are of a certain size.

There are seven different classifications for shred particle sizes. P-1, recommended only for non-sensitive information, is the size that you’ll find on store-bought shredders: a long, spaghetti-like strip around 1/2” wide. The best class of protection, P-7, requires that the documents be cross-cut into particles less than 5 millimeters long and less than 1 millimeter wide, which is smaller than party confetti. This is the class that many government agencies require for disposal, and it’s one of the best ways to guarantee that discarded papers can’t be reconstructed.

Before you commit to a shredding provider, ask what size of particles their equipment is designed to produce. If it’s P-1 or P-2, keep looking. 

3. Frequency of Shredding Service

If you only have a finite amount of papers to shred, then a one-time purge shredding service may be precisely what you need. However, if, like most offices, you regularly produce documents that contain confidential or private information, then a one-time visit won’t cut it.

Your shredding provider should provide the option for recurring, scheduled service, and they should be able to allow you to set whatever kind of schedule you require. If they do offer scheduled shredding services, they may also be able to provide you a deal for locking security containers. A regular shredding appointment will keep documents from piling up and causing a backlog, and you’ll be confident that your papers have been discarded securely, instead of leaving them up to chance in the public trash collection.

Purge Shredding from A-1 Shredding

All three of the elements we just discussed should be present at any good shredding company, which is why you’ll always find them at A-1 Shredding. We offer mobile shredding directly to the door of your home or business, as well as a drop-off shredding service at our Glendale facility. We also provide hard drive shredding and e-media destruction services to handle any non-paper storage devices.

If you’d like more information about our document destruction services, including purge shredding, give us a call at (602) 759-5103. You can also contact us online.