Do you have unwanted documents that you need to shred and are thinking of buying a shredder to handle destruction on your own? A shredder machine may seem like a helpful tool, but will it protect your sensitive documents from theft and other information security concerns?

Here are eight questions to ask yourself when buying a paper shredder machine for your office:

1. Why do I need a paper shredder machine?

The most important reason for using or buying a shredder is to avoid a security breach.

Sensitive documents, whether bank statements, legal or medical reports, social security numbers or confidential business information, must be properly destroyed to protect data from illegal and unethical use. Throwing personal documents into the trash or recycling bin can have devasting outcomes for employees, customers and stakeholders. When it comes to protecting information security, shredding is the gold standard.

2. How many people will be using the shredder?

The number of employees using your shredder will determine the size of the machine that you must buy. If the shredder is too small, the waste bin will need to be emptied more frequently, increasing labour costs and slowing productivity.

Run time must also be considered when buying a shredder machine. This is how long the shredder can operate before needing a break to cool down. An office with a large workforce should buy a shredder designed for heavy-duty, continual use.

3. What will I shred?

The simple answer to this question is: destroy everything that has any sort of sensitive information. A shred-all policy is what many companies follow.

A shred-all policy is necessary to keep confidential information secure and avoid a devasting data leak. This means that all workers must shred all documents and confidential workplace information, including employee, management, company, customer and professional data.

Shredding isn’t limited to physical documents either. A shred-all policy also includes physical destruction of all forms of confidential data, such as electronic information found on hard drives, backup tapes, optical media and mobile devices.

4. How much security is required?

Security is a top concern of businesses – and it should be a primary concern when buying a shredder. Cut style and size are directly linked to the security level of a machine.

When researching a shredder, there are three common cutting styles to choose from:

Strip-cut Shredder

Strip-cut shredders destroy documents into long, narrow strips that data thieves can easily reconstruct. This type of shredder is not suitable for confidential records due to its lower security levels.

Cross-cut Shredder

Cross-cut shredders destroy records into smaller particles by cutting the paper diagonally from both corners, so it’s nearly unreadable. These shredders provide a medium level of security and are not recommended for highly sensitive documents.

Micro-cut Shredder

Micro-cut shredders destroy paper diagonally from both corners into square-shaped particles that are practically unreadable. If buying a shredder for your organization, a micro-cut machine offers a higher level of security. Financial corporations, law firms, medical offices and government entities commonly use these shredders.

5. How powerful of a paper shredder machine do I need?

Investing in a good shredder is essential for optimal performance and information security.

A basic office shredder can only destroy small volumes of documents, and a metal clip or staple is likely to cause a paper jam. Additionally, these shredders strip-cut documents, which increases the risk of identity theft and fraud.

A more powerful cross-cut shredder can destroy paper and other media, such as CDs, DVDs and plastic cards, through a dedicated slot. However, most shredders do not have separate waste bins to prevent plastic shreds from contaminating particles before recycling.

6. What sheet capacity and waste bin capacity do I need?

Sheet capacity and waste bin capacity are essential considerations because both factors impact productivity.

Sheet capacity tells how many sheets of paper can be fed into the machine at once, while waste bin capacity determines how often a shredder machine will need to be emptied. Generally, the higher the sheet capacity and the larger the waste bin volume will ensure faster document destruction and minimize how often the receptacle needs to be emptied.

7. Is this how I want my employees to spend their time?

Buying a shredder may seem affordable, but it will cost a lot more in the long run. Using trained employees for paper shredding is a time-consuming process that decreases productivity and increases labour costs.

Let’s crunch the numbers:

If your staff members average two minutes of shredding per day, earn an average hourly wage of $29.70 and work 22 days per month, the monthly labour costs will be $222.75. And, that’s only for one employee and does not include maintenance costs, clearing paper jams, removing paper clips or destroying large amounts of files. There are better ways for employees to spend their time – and using a shredder to shred sensitive documents is not it.

8. Should I outsource destruction instead of buying a shredder?

While destroying documents in-house may seem like an easy and cost-effective solution, it will never fully protect your business, employees and clients from a serious security breach.

A better choice is outsourcing document destruction to a NAID AAA Certified service instead of buying a shredder machine to do it yourself.

By working with a professional provider, you’ll be able to witness your confidential materials being destroyed in an industrial shredder truck at your location, ensuring a complete chain of custody. Your sensitive data will be shredded into small cross-cut pieces and mixed with other shredded materials, so it can never be reconstructed.

At the end of every service, you’ll also receive a Certificate of Destruction, which is essential to remain compliant with privacy laws.

Protect Confidential Data With Blue-Pencil’s Secure Document Destruction Service

Blue-Pencil provides affordable on-site document destruction services within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario to help organizations improve their information security.

We offer one-time and reoccurring shredding services, whether you need to destroy old records, computer hard drives or expired products. We also provide a Certificate of Destruction upon completing every service to prove that documents were destroyed and recycled according to privacy laws.

To find out how your business can benefit from our NAID AAA Certified document destruction services, contact our customer service team for a free quote.