If you work at a law firm or are a practicing lawyer in the Boston area, chances are that you understand the importance of confidentiality. You likely also understand the importance of adhering to relevant federal laws including FACTA and HIPAA. While many lawyers recognize the relevance and importance of adhering to these laws, it isn’t always evident in their document destruction practices. What’s more, it’s not always evident that every law firm has a document retention and destruction policy that seeks to fulfill client confidentiality.
Law firms in particular have a lot to be concerned about regarding confidentiality, and ensuring all practices within the firm maintain such confidentiality. Implementing a proper document destruction and retention policy is the first step to making such assurances.
At A1 DATASHRED, we suggest the following
- Assign an employee or group of employees to manage the plan: Having a group that oversees the process is most ideal, as it provides an opportunity to improve internal control.
- Coordinate with your IT department / ensure you know what data is backed up and what is not. Understanding what is already in the backup system and what isn’t, provides an excellent starting point to determine what actions, if any, need to happen before implementing the process, as well as how to design the process.
- Review and understand all privacy legislation: Make 100% sure that you are aware of what can be destroyed, what should be retained, and for how long this is to be the case.
- Establish guidelines for shredding documents: For example, what happens to the old Will when a new Will is written and becomes probate?
- Communicate the policy. All of these tips are only useful if every employee in the firm is aware of the policy, its rules and procedures.
When it comes to document shredding there are some realities that have to be recognized. In-house shredding machines simply don’t do a good enough job for most businesses, let alone legal firms. Most in house machines don’t shred documents adequately enough for them to be irreversible. Additionally, tossing the paper remnants into the recycling bin or trash can is dangerous since the waste is considerably easy for someone to get to.
So what is the ideal answer to alleviate destruction concerns? Use a dedicated shredding provider. Here are a few reasons why:
- A1 DATASHRED employs certified staff and maintains a highly secured work environment to ensure destroyed documents don’t end up in the wrong hands.
- Our machines destroy documents into an irreversible state. A1 DATASHRED shredders cut both horizontally and vertically, leaving fibers instead of strips.
- Industrial-grade shredders are expensive to operate and maintain (trust us). Bringing in a dedicated provider is often a more cost-effective solution.
If your Boston legal office is seeking document destruction advice, or would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us. 1-978-858-0200
If you visit any Boston office, chances are as you enter and maneuver throughout, you’ll see a blue bin or two. Whether next to the printing/copier machine, beside each desk, or in the lunchroom, any office you enter will have at least one of these. While these bins are of course handy and convenient for collecting recyclables, the real worry is whether they are being used correctly on a daily routine. In far too many cases, sensitive documents make their way to these bins out of sheer convenience. The issue here is that documents are left exposed and vulnerable to theft.
Paper itself isn’t the culprit at all! It’s those records that contain personal, private details that pose a serious security threat to your business and those involved. Consider the volume of information you generate, store, and circulate each day; you can bet that the majority of these records contain personal, confidential details. It is far too dangerous to throw this paperwork away without securely shredding them first.
Would you feel at ease knowing that your competitors have discovered private information regarding your marketing plans or client base? Probably not! However, tossing these documents into an open recycling bin or garbage bin potentially exposes just this to the outside public. At the end of the day, anything that is disposed of is considered fair game for any individual that comes across it. Identity thieves will gladly rummage through recycling bins if so inclined to locate information they can use to their advantage.
Protect Sensitive Documents with Lockable Collection Bins
If you have a stack of business records that are no longer relevant to your work but contain sensitive details, these should be disposed of into lockable collection bins. These containers are provided by most document shredding companies when you select a regular shredding program. At A1 DATASHRED, we offer these collection bins for the highest level of protection and convenience, prior to collection and destruction. As scheduled, we will service these containers at your office, or once containers reach capacity and professional shredding is needed.
Additional Security Tips
- Take the time and effort to create an environment which promotes security over sensitive business information. Success begins with top-down commitment from management, so it’s crucial to reinforce this policy and create a positive example for everyone.
- Consider starting a ‘shred-all’ policy for the most reliable document disposal solution. This is a simple process that reminds your staff of the importance behind securing sensitive records that are no longer of use. You will save a considerable amount of time and money with this policy as there is no need to determine what information is considered confidential and should be destroyed, and which records should be securely stored. Take this avoidable stress off of your staff and shred everything.
- Conduct regular security audits to inspect what internal processes could use additional attention, and where positive changes can be made.
- Partner with A1 DATASHRED for all your secure, document shredding We offer a variety of options that can be tailored to your business needs.
Reach out to our team for no obligations or for more information.
Contact A1 DATASHRED at 978-858-0200.