Shredding Service Case Study Project Facts
Client Location: Southwestern Ontario (Oakville)
Type: Automotive dealership
Size: Five locations with approximately 50 employees each
Service: Monthly shredding service
The Situation: Inefficient and non-compliant shredding processes
With five automotive dealership locations in the GTA—each with an average of 50 employees—our customer was part of the 72% of businesses who lack a strategic, multi-year plan for records and information management.
Their D.I.Y. strategy meant various employees were shredding multiple documents throughout the day or, in some cases, disposing of confidential documents in recycling bins. With no destruction policies or procedures in place, shredding was arbitrary and non-compliant with PIPEDA regulations, leaving the company open to considerable
risk of costly fines from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and Canada, increased customer acquisition activities, and diminished reputation and goodwill.
Our customer realized that the risk associated with a neglected information security plan was only growing. According to AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management), the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper, and over 50% of offices are increasing their paper volume annually.
Like many businesses, these dealerships regularly process hundreds of sensitive documents, including (but not limited to) contracts; general ledgers; financial information; credit applications; purchase agreements; financial statements; customer personal information; internal communications; employee records and salaries; and HR documents. According to our customer, like the majority of businesses, the volume of paper involved in the business was growing exponentially.
Whether employees used the rented shredder at one location, or the small shredders
purchased from an office supply store at the other four locations, approximately two hours per location per day was being spent on document destruction. This time, which adds up over weeks and months, could have been much better allocated on conducting tasks closer to the primary business and customer facing requirements.
The Turning Point: Risk of Identity Theft Realized
A ground breaking report on the cost of privacy breaches by the Ponemon Institute, done in conjunction with the global data protection giant Symantec, states that privacy breaches cost the average business $3.02 million. That’s a huge expense, especially for a small- or medium-sized business.
A breakdown of these costs include:
- Investigations and forensics
- Audit and consulting services
- Outbound contact costs
- Inbound contact costs
- Public relations/communications
- Legal services – defense and compliance
- Free or discounted services
- Identity protection services
- Lost customer business
- Customer acquisition cost
The study also claims that human error was responsible for 2/3 of the cases of privacy and data breaches. The good news is, with a concise information security strategy, the instances of human error drops dramatically.
An on-going document destruction policy requires a tailored policy strategy and procedure manual, employee training and education, and a proactive response to risk mitigation. As an outsourced information security manager, Blue-Pencil performs operations for clients on a daily basis and can deliver these services at significant less expense than an internal team, and with audited security and credentials.
After recognizing the potential for and associated cost of confidential material being improperly discarded and exposed through clear garbage bags, our customer made a proactive decision to eliminate the risk of lost reputation, lost business and irreparable damage. Alternatively, without a document destruction procedure and policy tailored to a specific business in place, a D.I.Y. strategy can see vital business information unnecessarily stored or destroyed, resulting in possible legal and financial risk.
Although they had not experienced a breach in confidentiality, our customer chose to act before something like that happened—which was becoming increasingly probable with the growing volume of documents used in the business—and to:
- Increase internal process effectiveness and efficiency
- Reduce real estate costs through the elimination of filing
- Improve morale and employee and customer
After their search for a complete, GTA-based document destruction service, our customer decided to partner with Blue-Pencil at the beginning of 2015. The dealerships appreciated Blue-Pencil’s proactive approach in proposing an Office Shredding Program that included:
- Additional training and awareness
- Privacy breach prevention strategy
- Additional manual procedures and controls
- Trouble shooting privacy opportunities
- Endpoint security solutions
Once on board, Blue-Pencil provided an education session on document destruction policies, as well as created a procedural strategy that was easily implemented. Two or three Blue-Pencil security consoles were then dispersed strategically throughout each location, into which employees are to put any and all confidential material. For added convenience, employees were invited to leave in staples, binders, paper clips, etc., as those are taken care of by Blue-Pencil. What once took a total of approximately two hours a day is now achieved in minutes—a considerable savings of resources.
A Blue-Pencil representative visits the offices once a month to shred all the documents onsite for secure and audited shredding. According to our customer, the representative from Blue-Pencil is an excellent ambassador for the company, is courteous, quiet, and is in and out of the office very quickly. Our customer believes Blue-Pencil has become the internal records management team and strategy arm of their business.
Results: Cost-effective and Compliant Shredding Services
At a cost of $2 per day per location, our customer believes Blue-Pencil’s services are very cost-effective. To this end, they are looking to expand their partnership with Blue-Pencil to include data storage. As an added bonus, our customer believes their employees are much happier now that Blue-Pencil is helping the business run more safely and effectively, providing complete physical document destruction thoroughly, quickly and cost effectively.
The efforts in improving our customer’s information security practices are paying off as evidenced by the reallocation of employee time towards running the business and the company’s reduction of risk. Making use of an outsourced records management provider was the right decision for our customer for the reduction of on-site storage of paper, for best practices consulting, and the management of document destruction at the end of their lifetime.
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