Excess Paper? Shred It And Forget It
Much has been written in recent years about security needs surrounding electronic data, but little, if any attention is being paid to a somewhat older security threat: waste paper and media that contain critical information.
Despite all the talk today of “paperless” offices, the use of paper to output documents in offices continues to grow, albeit not as rapidly as storage of data in electronic form, says Lou Slawetsky, president of Industry Analysts, an independent office systems analyst firm based in Rochester, N.Y.
“Its a smaller piece of a very large pie,” he notes.
According to Fellowes Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of paper shredders based in Itasca, Ill., discarded paper is often implicated in cases of identity theft. The firm notes that from 2002 to 2003, “nearly 10 million peoplehave been victims of identity theft, costing them $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses and costing businesses a total of almost $48 billion.”
“Dumpster diving is still alive,” says Slawetsky in reference to the practice of combing through a companys or individuals garbage in order to unearth critical information like computer passwords, bank account numbers and confidential memos.
“People go through trash on both a personal and business level,” he explains. “Even junk mail may have personal information in the bar code on the envelope or on a piece of paper inside.”
Shredding the offending paper seems an obvious solution, but how does one choose wisely from the many shredding devices available? According to Katie Sacksteder, marketing manager for shredders at Fellowes, “Not all shredders are created equal. The power of the motor and the shredders capacity should match your needs.”
The key, says Sacksteder, is deciding on just how you will use the machine. Prospective buyers must ask themselves 3 key questions:
How many pieces of paper will I shred in a day? Once you have that figure, “double it,” she says, noting that customers almost invariably underestimate their needs. “This is especially important in the insurance industry with requirements to properly destroy clients financial information,” she adds.