Published 29th of October 2020

There isn’t a business that doesn’t have some sort of confidential documentation that needs to be protected. The risks posed for any sensitive information going missing, either by misfortune or through criminal activity, are extremely high. Companies that hold a lot of paper-based documents and files are at a higher risk.

What are confidential business documents?

Confidential documents are any documentation that has personal information about an individual, customer or client. Personal data is information about an individual that can be used to identify him/her.

It’s vital that everyone in a business understands what’s sensitive and what isn’t. Confidential documents can be anything from company financial records, employee details, home addresses, name, credit card numbers, ect.

The importance of secure document disposal

Under GDPR legislation, if you hold sensitive information about anyone, they have the right to request that you completely dispose of this data and no longer hold any information about them. This requires secure document disposal to ensure the data is completely destroyed and can’t be pieced back together. A ‘shred all’ policy is recommended, as it’s the easiest policy to follow for any unwanted documents. This saves employees from having to make the decision on what is or is not classified as confidential waste.

It’s important to dispose of documents securely to prevent identity theft and theft of confidential information about your business. Although many businesses are now storing data electronically, the notion of a completely paperless office is unrealistic. Therefore, it’s essential that documents that are no longer needed are shredded, while storing those that are still in your possession in a safe place.

The retention period of each document will depend on the type of document, data that is stored and the industry you are in. Read our guide to document retention polices and retention period blog for more information on this.

How to dispose of confidential documents

There are many ways you can destroy confidential documents. We will cover the two types of documents and the best, more secure method of destroying them.

Digital Documents

GDPR regulations apply for confidential data stored electronically is exactly the same as information stored on paper. Once you no longer have a reason to retain it, it needs to be securely erased and disposed of.

Data stored on a computer is very vulnerable to cyber-attacks and is more difficult to control as data can easily be copied to multiple locations. If you don’t have an in-house IT department to manage the storage of your digital documents, you can hire one to help you “clean” your digital storage. This will ensure nothing gets missed or leaked and stay confidential. A good IT company will know how to encrypt data so that no one else can hack your data.

Electronic items like hard drives, computers and laptops should be securely shredded after use. Even when computers are broken or have been wiped clean the information on them can still be recovered. To keep data secure, we would recommend not selling IT equipment or parts. Shredding and recycling electronic items are the most secure way to protect confidentiality. Shredall SDS Group has a target to recycle 100% of non-contaminated waste as part of our ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification.

Best way to dispose of confidential paper documents

Shredding your confidential paper documents is the most secure and effective method to destroy hard copies. Whether the business needs a one-off service or regularly needs to keep on top of data, a professional shredding service is able to provide an ad-hoc or scheduled service.

A professional shredding provider uses the highest level of security suitable for confidential information, which crosscuts strips of 16mm ensuring shredded paper cannot be pieced back together.

Shredding is a GDPR compliant way to dispose of documents and is environmentally friendly, as shredded items can be recycled much more easily than non-shredded documents.

Shredall SDS Group meets all the above requirements and more. Our shredding processes comply with BS EN15713 Secure Destruction of Confidential Waste. This is a standard specified by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and covers security levels, vetting of employees (BS 7858) and recycling. We are proud to say that we recycle 100% of our shredded paper at UK paper mills.