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Be Careful with Shredding Services

By Shopify API March 26, 2019

If you use shredding services, the story that follows about an employee stealing clients’ documents from a company in Texas should have you worried. No matter how reputable the business you use for your shredding services, you could be at risk for the same type of data breach. The Scandal A worker at the Fort Worth, TX branch of shredding business stole bank records belonging to thousands of clients. He then shared this information with identity thieves, giving the crooks access to millions of dollars. The employee was a truck driver, responsible for collecting documents that the company would shred offsite — a service marketed as safe and secure. Among those affected by the data breach were a number of major organizations, including an insurance company. All had outsourced shredding to destroy their own records and those of their customers. It took some effort to track the data breach back to the employee who originally stole the documents. Authorities only realized who was responsible after arresting a woman in Atlanta for writing fake checks. The woman named the employee at the document shredding company and the investigation began. It all started to fall apart for the truck driver when detectives found a torn-up check in the trash to the front of his house. This check was in the name of a man who had suffered from identity theft after mailing a check to his insurance company — the same insurance company that sent away its documents for offsite shredding. Should You Outsource Shredding? With the above as a warning, you may wonder why anyone would choose to outsource shredding. The most often cited reason is convenience. It may save companies time and effort to outsource shredding, but there is nothing convenient about a security breach. A second reason is many offices are under the impression that shredding services are cheaper than shredding in-house. However, this is not the case. Like cutting grass or any other service, it is always cheaper to take care of the task yourself. Purchasing a shredder is a one-time cost; in contrast, outsourced shredding incurs a fee for every time you want to shred documents — and there may even be hidden costs. Finally, there is a widespread myth that shredders break down all the time. In fact, you just need to find the right shredder for the job. Centralized office shredders from MBM/Destroyit, Intimus, and HSM can all withstand abuse from office workers and last well more than 10 years. The Dangers of Outsourcing Your Shredding When you outsource important company information to a third party, you are always at risk. Even a minor breach can have huge consequences for your business and lead to a loss of trust from your customers. Sometimes, breaches are due to willful negligence, either on the part of the company or a rogue employee (like the above story). The more people involved in handling your documents, the higher the risk your information is stolen. In other cases, a breach may be due to oversight — a big issue when confidential data is involved. If your shredding company deals with a large workload, it is possible you will not receive the timely service promised. When it comes to shredding, it is almost impossible to know if this is the case. It is much easier to ensure all your shredding is completed within your desired timeframe and carried out to sufficiently destroy all confidential information when you handle the task at your business. The Takeaway No matter whether you outsource shredding or shred onsite, you have responsibility for your company documents. Handing the paperwork to a third party does nothing to alleviate you of this responsibility should you suffer a data breach. Besides, although it may make sense to outsource technical work that requires expertise, shredding is simple. Save money and increase security by shredding at the source!

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