There are many information disposal options from which you may choose. You can hire a shredding service, purchase an office shredder or simply recycle. The cost of each option varies, as does the level of security. Here is a review of each.
Shredding companies offer two types of shredding services, on-site and off-site. These services are similar in some respects because your documents and other confidential materials are placed in locked bins and then picked up at your location by a uniformed shredding company driver. Bins are usually provided free of charge and service is scheduled at regular intervals (usually weekly, bi-weekly or monthly).
Level of Security - On-site shredding offers the highest level of information security.
The Process - As the name implies, on-site shredding means that all confidential materials are shredded on-site, at your location. The hydraulic lift of a shredding truck raises a filled container and your confidential information is shredded in minutes. Because the process is automated, the driver never touches your confidential documents. We also recommend that you watch the shredding process from beginning to end, each and every time your materials are shredded. (Many high-tech shredding trucks have a camera and video monitor system.) This will insure that all confidential information has indeed been shredded on-site.
Cost - Prices range from $40 to $60 per service.
Conclusion - If your organization requires that you view the shredding process, choose a company that is AAA NAID Certified for On-Site Shredding.
Click here to see a step-by-step preview of our On-Site Shredding process.
Level of Security - Off-site shredding is a highly secure shredding process.
The Process – A uniformed driver removes the confidential materials from your locked bin and places them in a larger, locked container. From there they are secured in a locked shredding company truck and brought back to a plant facility to be shredded. Once at the facility, the driver brings all the locked security containers into the plant, and the materials are shredded by certified workers, under video surveillance.
Cost - Prices are usually lower than on-site shredding.
Conclusion - If you want a highly secure, economical shredding process, choose a company that is AAA NAID Certified for Off-Site Shredding.
Click here to see a step-by-step preview of our Off-Site Shredding process.
Alternatives to Shredding Companies:
Using an Office Shredder
Level of Security – Office shredders offer limited information security.
The Process - Employees get rid of your confidential documents by “feeding the shredder.” Unfortunately, in many organizations, the person chosen to perform this task is an entry-level employee making near minimum wage. They are also the most likely candidates to steal confidential information for personal gain. In addition, most office shredders use a “strip shred” process that can leave large pieces of paper intact.
Cost - It sounds like a cost effective method, but when you consider that the average office shredder only shreds eight pages of paper at once, office shredding can easily take hours of employee time each and every week. Factor in wages and benefits, the initial cost of the shredder, plus upkeep of the equipment (blades have to be professionally sharpened) as well as depreciation of the shredder, do it yourself shredding can cost nearly twice as much as a shredding service. Click here for a cost comparison.
Conclusion - Do it yourself shredding should only be practiced by the smallest of businesses that have few, if any confidential documents that need to be shredded.
Level of Security - None. When a company gives away paper for recycling they relinquish all rights to the information. If confidential information was not properly shredded and it falls into the wrong hands, your organization will be held liable.
The Process - Recycling your confidential documents is a dangerous practice. Here’s why. Most recycling companies hire minimum wage workers who have not undergone criminal background checks or random drug testing. These workers sort your documents, often in unsupervised areas. Then the sorted paper is stored for days, weeks or even months, until there is enough to sell. Your confidential documents, still intact, are then baled and sold to the highest bidder, where they may be stored again for even longer periods, until they are finally used to make new products.
Cost - None. Many recycling firms will pay for your recycled paper.
Conclusion - Never give your confidential documents directly to a recycling company. If you’re concerned about the environment, use a shredding company. (They all recycle.)