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Information security tips & advice: shred, store or keep?

Information security tips & advice: shred, store or keep?

It’s the situation in thousands of offices around the country: documents are clogging up filing cabinets, cupboards and desks - taking up space and providing a headache for the office manager who has to keep everything under control.

The good news is that there’s always a solution. No office needs to be left with documents here, there and everywhere - and, from an information security standpoint, no office should have documents scattered around. The tricky part is deciding which solution best fits your specific problem.

Depending on the kind of documents your business has and the data they contain, different document management solutions are appropriate. In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of the main ones.

Shredding: total destruction of hard copies

When is document shredding appropriate? When you have documents that you don’t need to access in physical form anymore.

Shredding documents is the most permanent measure you can take when getting rid of old information. There’s no going back when documents have been shredded, but you also don’t have to worry about them clogging up space in the office or paying for ongoing storage elsewhere.

In reality, when we get over our natural tendency to hoard things, we don’t need a lot of the documents that we keep around the office. However, having the ability to scan documents is a perfect workaround if you want to keep access to some things while still saving space and money. With the power to access digital documents through the cloud, you don’t have to worry so much about the physical permanence of shredding historic documents.

What’s more, there is a great deal of flexibility when it comes to how you shred your documents, from collecting your paper to shred at our facilities, to using our mobile shredders to destroy documents on your own premises. Given that it’s so easy to get your documents shredded and the the UK government increasingly tough on data protection, with GDPR also looming, is it worth taking any risks with the data you might have lying around?

Finally, it’s worth noting that we can also shred hard drives and company textiles, such as branded uniforms. Both these items can be overlooked when it comes to company and brand security, but destruction ensures that neither will come back to bite you in the future.

How is document shredding working for real businesses? Read these case studies to see some specific examples of when shredding came in handy:

Storage: access to physical documents with none of the mess

When is document storage required? When you need to make space in your office, but also have to be able to access physical documents in the future.

What’s the solution when you need to access physical documents but you simply don’t have the space to keep them all organised in your office? Document storage. Storing your documents means that you can be assured of their security and their physical existence if you need them, but you don’t have to worry about organising them in your own office.

As with shredded documents, stored documents can be digitised for quick access, but sometimes nothing beats having the physical copy to hand. With our storage facilities, your documents will be tracked and stored securely and we can send any of them back to you with next day delivery if you ever need them urgently in the future.

Another key reason to store documents off-site is the increased security (assuming the company you’re working with has strong compliance credentials). In a cluttered and crowded office, important documents run the risk of loss or accidental damage, even from something as mundane as a tea spillage! When security is of paramount importance - as is the case with many legal and financial documents - storage is often the best option.

How is document storage working for real businesses? Read these case studies to see some specific examples of when storage came in handy:

Keep: reorganising the office to increase security and convenience

When is it appropriate? If and when the number of documents reaches a manageable level that can be contained conveniently within your office.

After you have stored or shredded the majority of your documents, or if you’re office was reasonably uncluttered to begin with, you might be able to do some re-organising in-house to make things easier for your business.

Lockable filing cabinets, have never really been displaced as the best way to organise a moderate number of paper documents, but they can quickly become disordered and chaotic if they’re not attended to regularly.

Wherever you decide to put the documents that you keep in the office, make sure it’s somewhere that has some level of protection from unauthorised access or accidental damage, as these are the two great dangers of keeping documents in a standard office environment. For anything more sensitive, we recommend looking for a more secure solution.

If you think shredding or storage could be the solution your business has been waiting for, give us a ring at one of our local offices - we’d love to have a conversation about what you’re looking for.

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