Document Shredding: What to Shred, What to Keep

If you run a business where you are in possession of certain confidential information, you’ll want to look into the importance of paper shredding. In some instances, you’ll be required to discard of such sensitive information, making paper shredding an absolute necessity.

When you’re looking at your huge pile, or even an assortment of boxes, filled with documents, you may be faced with the difficulty of knowing what to do with the documents. Some should be kept for a few years, others you’ll have to hang onto indefinitely. But there are generally outdated files that you have to deal with. Here, we’ll offer a few tips so you’ll have a better idea of what to store, and what to destroy.

Risk of Identity Theft

No matter, what, your top priority should be to protect the information stored on discarded documents. Therefore, you should destroy the following when they become obsolete:

  • Utility bills
  • Medical documents
  • Pay stubs
  • Bank records
  • Receipts
  • Mortgage, tax, and insurance information

Questions to Answer Before Shredding

If you are still unsure of what to shred, ask yourself the following questions:

Is your business required to retain the record?

This generally applies to third-party data and tax documentation. Keep documents that you’re required to hang onto for a certain time-frame, and dispose of when the time is right.

Can you obtain the information at a later date?

Many companies have the ability to obtain certain data if necessary. If your business can retrieve data easily, the best thing to do is shred the documents.

Can you scan the document?
Scanning is a very productive way of freeing up your piles of documents while having the ability to hold onto them for a later date. Certain legal and financial documents, however, must be held in paper form, therefore scanned copies won’t suffice. You should reserve scanning for documents that are in active use or if you’ll need them again in the near future. Scanning too many items clutters up your network, which can make it harder to pull up relevant files. It’s best to not scan a document just so you don’t have to decide whether or not to keep it.

If you deal with documents that are highly confidential, it’s worth looking into a paper shredding company. Shredding documents makes it very difficult for someone to piece the document back together, but not impossible, so whatever you do, only look at document shredding as a part of a good data protection plan, but it should never be the entire plan.

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