Not using a shredding service to destroy your confidential and private information can create great risks for your organization. To discuss these risks details in more depth that that listed in the article contact us to speak with one of our experts. These risks can include lawsuits, legal fines, competitive information leaks to your competition and general image and reputation damage to your organization and company’s brand. Even if you do shred your documents on-site with your own shredding equipment and do not use a shredding service for your organization there can still be great risks. This article highlights the main risks of each scenario.
Risk Of Not Shredding Documents
In the event that your organization has an information leak, there is a high risk that this could lead to a lawsuit. An example of this would be if you store personal information of your customers and that information was to be leaked as a result of documents not being fully destroyed. There would be a high likelihood that those customers, once notified of the leak, may take legal action against you resulting in severe legal costs and settlement fees.
In some instances, an information or privacy leak can put you in a place where you could be fined by various levels of government. In Ontario Canada, an example of legislation that could lead to a fine, if not followed properly and an information was to occur would be PIPEDA. PIPEDA sets out ground rules for how private sector organizations can collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities. It also outlines how companies are to hold this information and individuals from the information getting to people it should not get to. If you are not sure what legal requirements you have for your records management we would be happy to offer you a free review to determine your requirements.
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Competitive Information Leak
When you do not shred your office documents you run the risk that the documents that contain your organization’s plans and activities could fall into the hands of the last people you would like to get this information, your competitors. This could happen as a result of deliberate action taken by your competitors or inadvertently by important documents making their way outside of the office and the wrong person accidentally getting a hold of them. This could happen as a result of important documents making it to an employee’s home and being forgot about or through someone picking them out of the public recycling processing system or facility. If your competition was to get documents outlining your current or future plans, a customer list or your trade secrets could be severely damaging to your company so you want to make sure you do everything in your power to ensure this never happens. Conduct a self-assessment to determine your organizations risk of an information leak for free. Click here.
In the event of any kind of unwanted information leak from your organization as a result of documents falling into the wrong hands, there is always the risk that this could severely damage the reputation of your company or brand. Even if no lawsuit, fine or competitive risk occurs, there can still be significant damage to the company. This can be in the form of upset employees, customers, and/or stakeholders. In addition, an information leak can cause employees, customers, and/or stakeholders to view your company as unprofessional, not trustworthy, disorganized, etc, damaging the image they have for your brand, the desire they have to work for your organization or willingness to support your companies direction.
Risks Of Shredding Your Documents On Site With Your Own Equipment
Health Risks To Employee
Shredding documents can create a large amount of dust. This dust can become an issue in the work environment simply from the action of shredding or from when shredded documents are removed from the shredding equipment for disposal. By keeping documents intact and then having them removed from the office by a shredding service company to be shredded off-site, it can completely eliminate this health risk to your employees.
Physical Injury To Staff
Office shredders use sharp objects to shred paper. Anytime you have mechanical equipment there is always a risk of injury. In an office environment, this can often be a higher risk as employees who work in an office are often not as aware of safety risk when compared to a production employee that reviews safety risks regularly. By using an offsite shredding service, you can reduce the risk of injury to your employees.
On Site Fire
Given shredding creates dust and shredded document are very flammable, there are increased risks of explosion or fire if shredding is done on site. By using a shredding service that shreds your documents for you off-site, this can make your workplace a safer place for your staff.
Workplace Safety Violations
If you do your own on-site shredding program, there may be a risk that you are violating Ontario Health & Safety regulations. For a full review of the Occupational Health & Safety Act in Ontario, click here. By using a shredding service that specializes in shredding you can remove any risk of not being in compliance as the onus of being in compliance for the employees looking after the shredding lies with the shredding service provider.
Competitive Information Leak
Even with document shredding equipment on site there is still a risk of having an information leak to your competitors if your employees are not trained on proper information management procedures. Companies should have an information security company policy, information security employee manual and regular standardized training for employees. When you use a shredding services company they can help you create and implement these policies, manuals and training. If you would like assistance with this for your company contact us today or download this free policy template.
Blue Pencil offers a complete suite of documents and records management services including records management, scanning & imaging services, secure document management and document storage services. To learn more about our shredding services, like how long it takes, how to book a one time apportionment or to get setup with a regular scheduled pick, give us a call.
We are located conveniently in Oakville, Ontario, with offices also in Kitchener, Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto and service the entire GTA and the surrounding areas. Click here to see our service areas.
If you would like to get a free audit and review of your records and document management systems to identify where you may have potential risks or opportunities for improvement contact us today.