When it comes to document shredding, there is no shortage of myths and misconceptions.

Document shredding seems like it would be a fairly straightforward thing, which is why many people are surprised to learn that many business owners believe things about document shredding that just aren’t true. Luckily, your go-to document management company in Waukegan is here to set the record straight. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about document shredding debunked!

Myth #1. Your trash is safe.

Did you know that, once you throw something away, it becomes public property? That’s right, the fourth amendment, which gives you the right to “secure…houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures…” does not protect what you put in the trash. Once you throw a document away, anyone can take it and use the information provided for their own gain, whatever that may be. This is one of the many reasons why shredding documents — rather than simply throwing them away — is the safest way to handle sensitive information.

Myth #2. You’ll save more money if you buy your own paper shredder.

Many of the companies that sell paper shredders claim that businesses will save more money if they opt to buy their own instead of using a paper shredding service. And, while that may be true when you only consider the upfront costs, there are other costs that need to be taken into account as well in order to determine which option will actually save you more, like:

  • Someone to actually shred the documents – Your documents won’t shred themselves regardless of whether you have a document shredder or not. This means that, depending on the volume of documents that need to be shredded, you’ll either have to hire someone to shred your documents or take an employee away from their other duties to get the work done. Either way, it’s a cost worth considering.
  • Maintenance and repairs – Over time, wear and tear can start to show on your document shredder. Maintaining your shredder properly, and promptly doing repairs when they’re required, can help you get more years out of your shredder, but again, this takes time, which equals money. You may even have to pay someone to come out and repair or maintain your shredder, which can also add up.

Myth #3. It’s more secure to shred documents on-site.

While, yes, it’s true that shredding is by and large the safest ways to dispose of documents, that doesn’t mean that shredding on-site is more secure — or even as secure — as choosing to work with the professionals. Here are a few safety issues to consider when it comes to in-house shredders:

  • Employee misuse or theft of information – No company wants to operate under the assumption that their employees would ever steal or misuse sensitive data, but in this day and age, it pays to be safe. The simple fact is that giving employees unlimited access to sensitive data while they feed it into the shredder puts your company at risk.
  • Evidence of legal compliance – FACTA and HIPPA both have stringent legal regulations that govern the destruction of documents. If your company ever has to face litigation because of a shredding compliance issue, an in-office shredder will give you zero evidence that you can use in court. But, if you choose to work with a professional company, you’ll have invoices, receipts, etc. to demonstrate your compliance.
  • Accidents – It’s always important to factor in human error in any kind of business decision. Unfortunately, people make mistakes. If an employee accidentally throws sensitive information away instead of shredding it, it could put your company at risk for a data breach or put your clients at risk for identity theft.

Myth #4. Recycling is just as effective as shredding.

If you’re just focused on the end result, then yes, recycling and shredding accomplish the same goal. When you recycle a document, all of the lettering will be destroyed, but that’s the final step in the process. The fact of the matter is that the recycling process takes many steps, and the documents will be in many different hands during each of those steps. This puts your data at risk. Shredding is the only foolproof way to completely keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands.

Myth #5. It’s better to keep all of your records than to shred them.

By law, business are required to keep many different records on hand. This leads many business owners to believe that it’s safer to simply keep all of their records than it is to destroy records they no longer need. However, keeping documents past their usefulness is risky. If those documents get stolen, it could put your company or clients at risk. Plus, you have to have space to store physical documents, and that can get pricey.

Myth #6. Not all businesses need to worry about shredding documents.

The truth of the matter is that, regardless of how big or small your business is, or what industry you work in, at some point or another, you’re going to need to shred documents. The United States sees some of the most expensive identity theft cases in the world, which is why there are so many laws and regulations dictating what information must be shredded. Don’t fall under the misconception that, just because your business might be smaller, you don’t need to shred anything. The average employee who works in an office in the U.S. uses up to 20,000 pieces of paper every year. Your company probably has more to shred than you think!

Don’t let the myths hold you back from taking advantage of our document shredding services at Access Information Management. Our services can save you time and money, and best of all, they can keep your business in compliance with laws and regulations. With us, you’ll get the peace of mind in knowing your data is in good hands. Ready to get started with the number one shredding team in the Greater Chicago area? Contact our document management professionals today!