A third season episode on the HBO series Silicon Valley recently emphasized the importance of shredding documents. A foursome of tech experts on a quest to begin Operation Skunk Works in an effort to proceed as they want to built the platform they have a passion for have their plans immediately foiled. Richard, their less than fearless leader, trips and spills out his Skunk Works plan to innovate the technology they want to develop, not the technology that the latest CEO and sales team wants. When his partners ask him why those papers had not shredded, Richard quite simply announces, “We do not have a paper shredder at the house.” And just like that the team of techies is back to doing what they are told, instead of doing what they want.
Although the scene in Silicon Valley is painfully funny, the reality and the threat that unshredded documents can cause to individuals and businesses is substantial. Shredding document helps the environment, saves space, and protects confidential information. Without a viable plan for shredding documents, in fact, a company puts both themselves and their customers at risk of identity theft, security breaches, and intellectual property loss.
Shredding Documents Protects Identity
Paper shredding solutions are important to both individuals and companies. For companies, however, the impact of not shredding the appropriate information can be devastating. In the year 2012, identity fraud cost Americans nearly $21 billion. And while some cases of identity theft take place on an individual level, some cases are the result of government offices, medical offices, educational institutions, and banking institutes. Consider the following statistics about identity and data theft:
- 10.2% of identity and data theft is accounted for in the government sector
- 9% of identity and data theft is accounted for in the educational sector
- 3.7% of identity and data theft is accounted for in the banking sector
Any digital theft is dangerous and as the world becomes more and more interconnected, it is important that both individuals and institutions work to protect personal data accounts. As a result, convenient paper shredding options and cost effective paper shredding solutions can save businesses and government offices money, time, and trust. A bank that cannot guarantee the privacy of its accounts will not have customers; government agencies that cannot protect the privacy of individual citizens open themselves to expensive fraud cases; and educational institutions who cannot protect the digital identity of its faculty and students will lose credibility.
Shredding Documents Helps the Environment
The average American office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year. In fact, the average U.S. office worker is estimated to use a sheet of paper every 12 minutes. The environmental impact of all of this paper usage is monumental. Through the use of an on site paper shredding company, however, unneeded and outdated documents can be shredded and move one step closer to safe and confidential recycling.
The days of simply throwing old papers into a recycling box are long gone. Important papers, including any paper that contains any personal information, must be shredded before it can be recycled and help the environment. Document shredding protects privacy and then creates recycle waste paper that can be used in the making of new paper materials. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, an impressive 63.5% of some kinds of paper is being recycled. This percentage can continue to grow as large educational and medical institutions and government agencies contract with paper shredding companies.
Document Shredding Protects Intellectual Property
Even though we live in a digital age, many of our best ideas and designs are still crafted, written, and sketched on actual sheets of paper. And while these hand written items are the key to many of the greatest inventions, discoveries, and theories, they are also hard copies that can be stolen. Intellectual property, in many ways, is just as valuable as digital data. Secure document destruction, however, can destroy papers when they are no longer needed and can protect a company’s best ideas and plans.
The fact that 43% of security breaches are caused by physical thefts like dumpster diving indicates that secure paper shredding is a must. Do not let you or, more importantly, your clients be one of the one in ten people who are victims of identity theft.