The amount of paper your business accumulates is likely growing unless it already went paperless. If you have these overflowing files, chances are you would want to get rid of them. They might be taking up a lot of storage space. They might also slow down your workflow as it will take more time to retrieve a particular record.
Still, tossing unwanted files without careful thought is not a good idea. If you do, you can put your company at risk for a data breach or potential litigation. The average data breach cost in Canada due to stolen and compromised files reached $8.86 million.
There are essential considerations when discarding business documents, you no longer need. We’re highlighting the most crucial ones below.
Develop a Record Retention Policy
Which business records should you destroy, and which should you keep? Knowing this beforehand is vital to avoid state and industry-related fines for improper document disposal.
There are different retention requirements for a variety of records. You must keep tax records and business documents in Canada for at least six years. Make sure to destroy records under a sound retention policy.
Determine what business documents to dispose of, by whom, and when. This will protect your company from legal risks, such as lost or stolen information. You can also maintain a safe and secure storage space without outdated documents.
Determine the Best Document Destruction Method
There are different ways to destroy business records. But not all are effective in protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access.
Determining which method best suits your business documents is essential. Cost, convenience, and sensitivity of the record are among the things you need to consider.
One method to destroy paper documents is mechanical destruction. It usually includes shredding, pulping, and pulverizing. But shredding is often the most efficient way to get rid of most business paper records.
You can do it using multi-cut scissors or a cross-cut shredding machine. It’s a viable method for small amounts of shredding. But it’s time-consuming and not always secure. If you want to ensure better security, hiring paper shredding services is a better option.
Professional shredding guarantees compliance with Canada’s federal privacy protection laws. They can provide your business with a certificate of destruction. It’s a formal proof that your company adheres to secure document destruction. This will be particularly useful when a legal action or audit arises.
Train Your Staff on Secure Document Destruction
Using a professional shredding company is a significant first step to securing document destruction. But do your staff know which documents to send for shredding and which ones to keep?
Training employees about confidential documents, their retention period, and proper disposal is critical. Ensure to incorporate security policies into your employee manual and orientation training. This will assist in keeping everyone on the same page and reduce the risk of employee negligence.
The Bottom Line
Dealing with overgrown stacks of unwanted paper business documents can be frustrating. It’s tempting to toss everything in the trash. But you’re accountable for protecting confidential information about your business, employees, and customers. Ensure a secure document destruction program is in place for compliance and protection purposes.