According to some reports, around £2bn is lost every year in information fraud and identity theft. This is usually carried out by criminals who know their way around banking systems and the internet, and can often clone identities and access accounts with the minimal amount of information – in short experienced fraudsters who know how to work all the angles. Whilst these unscrupulous people usually like to target individuals, they also are known for going after bigger money in the form of companies and businesses. They often source the necessary information required to help them commit their crimes from waste bins where important and sensitive company documents may have been thrown away, However, with the right kind of confidential waste management strategy you can avoid letting your valuable company information fall into the wrong hands.
What Is Confidential Waste?
The best known form of confidential waste is paper documents that contain sensitive information. This could be anything from company bank statements through to order forms that list credit card information and bank billing details. It may well be appropriate for you to label all paper waste produced by your company, including hand-written notes, as confidential waste, ensuring that no documents escape your internal systems. Although fraud costs businesses and banks billions every year, it is also important to protect your business from corporate espionage. Client lists, credit information and even old invoices, which could give a competitor an idea of your clients' requirements and pricing structure, should be kept confidential.
If you want to manage your confidential waste on site, then the best way to do so is with paper shredders. These are now available in a number of different types, some of which can really ensure that any document you put into their jaws is lacerated beyond the point of recovery. In the past shredders used to only cut documents into long strips. However, this could create problems as the strips would often form a ball, which could then be turned back into a readable document with a little bit of effort. Now it's possible to get all kinds of different shredders, including types that use a special dual blade system that cuts documents into little diamonds. If you do not want to spend a large amount of money on an industrial shredder, then it is possible to hire a shredder kiosk on a needs basis from one of the growing number of confidential waste handling companies.
Lock and Key
Obviously with every business there are large amounts of sensitive documents and files that have to be retained for legal purposes. These should be kept under lock and key until such time as they can be destroyed. Larger companies often have a secure storage unit for their confidential waste on site, where confidential waste can be stored until such time as it can be processed. If your business creates a lot of waste paper then you may want to install different types of bins – those that can handle general paper based waste for recycling, and those that are for confidential waste. It is important here to use different types of bin bags so that the two different types of waste are never mixed up, and the confidential waste always finds its way to the proper disposal unit.
In addition to sensitive documents companies often issue trusted workers with credit and debit cards linked to the company accounts. When such workers leave their jobs, these cards need to be effectively destroyed. Many modern shredders actually have the power to not only work their way through paper, but can also chew up bank cards into unrecoverable strips or squares, which will also destroy the chip that holds any sensitive card information. This can also be especially useful if your company uses an entry card system or on site identity cards, as these can be similarly destroyed whenever someone leaves the business.
According to an article published by the BBC back in 2009, engineers were able to pull around 22,000 deleted files off hard-drives that had been sold with computers purchased on eBay. With so many different types of disaster recovery software available now, it's very easy for even the most amateur users to recover data from a hard drive. It's incredibly important that you make sure that you dispose of all your old hard drives properly. Don't let your staff take home old computers, as you never know where these might end up. Instead you should be able to find software freely available on the net that will allow you to wipe your hard-drives to the point where any data you've stored on them should no longer be recoverable.
If your company produces large amounts of confidential waste then it may be difficult for you to process it all using shredders and other machinery on site. In this case it is possible to employ a confidential waste management service who will supply you with special bins and bags into which you can put any paper that needs to be disposed of safely. They often also supply an extra large bin with a one way flap or lockable door, which can be used to store full bags and bins before collection. These companies always use workers who are fully CRB checked to ensure the security of their service.
An Attitude Of Vigilance
The final part in any confidential waste management strategy is making sure that your staff adhere to whatever plans you put in place. It is essential that they realise the value of your company data and banking information and how important this matter is to their job security – after all, if the company loses money and business due to data leaks, then this can have a negative knock on effect. You need to instigate a program where everyone, from the company directors down to your part time temps, understand and fully adhere to its parameters. It only takes one person to forget the rules for a serious breach to occur.