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Small businesses deal with a variety of personal and private documents every single day. These documents can quickly accumulate and must be disposed of. Any piece of paper that is simply placed into a trash bin and then hauled out to a dumpster is at risk of being stolen. This is why it is important for any small business to dispose of these documents responsibly through the use of a paper shredder or a shredding service. Ensuring that documents are destroyed before leaving the premises has some benefits and is important for a variety of reasons.

Protect Personal Customer Information
The most important reason to shred all of the papers that are leaving a small business is to protect the information of customers and clients. Identity thieves and scam artists can use very small pieces of information in order to steal or destroy the finances of an individual. Allowing just one crime to happen because a document was improperly disposed of can ruin the reputation of a small business well into the future. Shredding services that can handle large batches of paper are very helpful in this regard because even the shredded remnants of documents are frequently destroyed so they are completely unrecoverable.

It Might Be Legally Required
There are many rules and regulations surrounding medical records, financial information and credit card data that can actually make it a legal necessity for a small business to shred sensitive papers. These types of rules are often enacted by entire industries in order to promote trust from customers so that more people will feel comfortable using credit cards or electronic health record systems. These regulations normally involve placing sealed and locked receptacles for paper in common areas. The locked containers are then picked up by a paper shredding service later where video evidence of the document destruction is viewed by a facilities manager or other authorized employee.

Protect Proprietary Business Data
Even a small business can rely on protected proprietary information for success. There are several situations where the trade secrets or work product from a meeting can be revealed to outside sources because papers were not shredded before being thrown out. Items such as notes from a meeting, an internal report and even company plans can all be picked out the trash by competitors and then used. This could mean giving competitors information about a new product, a custom system enhancement or the names of clients. A professional shredding service can solve this problem because there will be no unsecured documents between office trash receptacles and the shredder.

Reduce Document Handling Costs
There are many small businesses that are part of an industry that requires documents to be handled in specific ways. One option is to continually file and archive papers that contain sensitive information. This can result in high storage and retrieval fees for the business as more documents accumulate. Using a paper shredder can help to remove these documents from circulation after being digitized or transcribed. Unfortunately, a paper shredder can actually increase document handling costs when employees must be dedicated to shredding large volumes of paper. A better solution that will reduce document handling costs is to use a shredding service to remove large portions of an archive whenever possible until all of the papers have been safely destroyed.

This post was provided by Steven Marques, a small business owner and entrepreneur. He has used Shred-it for document destruction and on site shredding services for the past ten years, to protect his company’s and clients information.