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The Importance of a Records Retention and Shredding Policy

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As organizations grow, so does their volume of records and documents. These records can contain a wealth of sensitive and confidential information, ranging from financial records to employee data. Organizations need to have a records retention and shredding policy in place to properly manage their documents and protect the privacy of their clients, customers, and employees.

A records retention and shredding policy outlines the guidelines and procedures for retaining, storing, and destroying records. The policy should cover various aspects, including the types of documents subject to retention, the duration of the retention period, and the methods of destruction, including secure shredding. In this article, we will look into what secure shredding is, why a record retention and shredding policy is important, and how to create one.

What Is Secure Shredding?

Secure Shredding is the process of destroying sensitive documents securely and confidentially. It involves the use of industrial-grade shredders that are capable of shredding paper into small pieces. Secure shredding ensures unauthorized individuals cannot access or reconstruct sensitive information, protecting organizations from identity theft, fraud, and other security breaches. Secure shredding is an essential component of a records retention and shredding policy. It helps organizations comply with legal and regulatory requirements for destroying sensitive information, reduce risks, save costs, protect their reputation, and safeguard the privacy of their stakeholders.

Why Is A Record Retention And Shredding Policy Important?

A records retention and shredding policy are essential to protecting sensitive information and adhering to legal and regulatory requirements. Organizations need to be aware of the laws and regulations related to records retention, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Failure to comply with these laws can result in hefty fines.

A well-defined policy ensures organizations know their document retention, storage, and destruction responsibilities. Additionally, it helps to create a consistent set of guidelines that all employees can follow, further protecting the organization from potential legal liabilities.

Organizations can ensure that their sensitive information is secure and compliant with industry regulations by developing and implementing an effective records retention and shredding policy. Doing so helps to protect the privacy of their clients, customers, and employees. It also saves organizations time and resources by continually eliminating the need to update filing cabinets or storage boxes with outdated documents. Furthermore, it reduces the chances of a costly data breach that could devastate an organization’s reputation.

How To Create A Records Retention And Shredding Policy

Creating a records retention and shredding policy is essential for businesses wanting to protect their data. When it comes to records retention, it is crucial to retain key documents and know when to get rid of them. Establishing a systematic approach to storing and disposing of corporate documents can help organizations reduce the potential for expensive litigation, penalties, or public embarrassment. Implementing a secure shredding program involves several steps:

  1. Conduct a Records Inventory: Conduct an inventory of all the records in your organization to determine which records are subject to retention and which can be safely disposed of.
  2. Develop a Shredding Policy: Develop a shredding policy that outlines the guidelines and procedures for shredding sensitive information. The policy should cover the types of records subject to Shredding, the methods of destruction, and the retention period.
  3. Choose a Secure Shredding Provider: Choose a secure shredding provider that meets your organization’s needs. Look for a provider that offers on-site shredding services, provides a certificate of destruction, and adheres to strict security standards.
  4. Train Employees: Train employees on the importance of secure shredding and the procedures for identifying and properly disposing of sensitive information. Make sure all employees are aware of the shredding policy and know how to use shredding equipment properly.
  5. Establish a Shredding Schedule: Establish a shredding schedule that reflects your organization’s needs. Determine how often sensitive information should be shredded and ensure all employees know the plan.
  6. Secure Storage: Until the documents are shredded, they should be stored securely in locked cabinets or rooms. Access to these areas should be limited to authorized personnel only.
  7. Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits to ensure that the shredding program is being correctly implemented and that all sensitive information is being shredded according to the policy.

 

Having a comprehensive records retention and shredding policy goes a long way in alleviating the risk associated with holding sensitive data and records. Creating policies that define who has access to these documents and how they should be managed is essential for protecting them against unauthorized divestiture or destruction.

When hiring Document Destruction of Virginia to manage your program, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that all documents are handled with the highest level of security and discretion. We specialize in creating custom shredding programs that meet your specific needs and provide a certificate of destruction after each service to guarantee complete compliance with industry regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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