Whether your business deals with medical records or whether the only confidential information you get is your customers' credit card numbers, shredding services can help you keep that information secure and keep your customers' trust. Some small business owners don't realize, though, just how important shredding is. After all, sending papers to a recycling facility should destroy the information as well, right? Unfortunately, though, it doesn't do so in a secure way; so whether you have your own shredders or whether you hire a shredding service, here are three ways shredding can keep your business out of hot water.
1. Compliance with healthcare laws
A law called the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is in place to regulate how businesses, healthcare providers, and others handle confidential healthcare information. This doesn't just apply to healthcare providers; it could apply to your business even if you have access to your clients' confidential healthcare information for some other reason. HIPAA requires you to not only destroy confidential documents (such as by shredding) but also get a certificate saying that they were destroyed. Violations of this law, even accidental ones, can cause big problems for your business.
2. Dumpster diving problems
If you put clients' confidential info in the recycling or trash bin, anyone could pull it out. In fact, "dumpster diving" is actually legal in the US (in general, although there may be local regulations against it), so it's your responsibility to ensure that people who go dumpster diving don't have access to anything that could put your (or your clients') confidential information in the hands of some random citizen who has no business seeing it.
3. Identity theft/fraud
Because dumpster diving is legal, people who want to commit identity theft or other types of fraud with your confidential information are perfectly able to do so if you put that confidential information into a dumpster. Identity theft isn't legal, of course, but that part doesn't happen until after the dumpster diving (which is legal) does happen. In addition, failing to shred confidential documents before they leave your care can allow unscrupulous employees, potential customers, or anyone else who might happen to be in the building for some reason to access these documents before they even get to the dumpster. Shredding allows you to keep these documents safe from prying eyes both inside and outside your business so you don't give up any material to potential identity thieves.
These are just three potential issues that shredding services can protect you against. A good shredding company should also have professional liability insurance as a guarantee that no mishaps will occur. Contact a company like Document Demolition LLC to learn more.