Use data shredding and keep those financial records secure

Data safety

Privacy is something we all want to have, at least to some degree. Our personal information and records isn't something we'd like to see leaking in the Internet, or passing form mouth to mouth, with everyone knowing about it. Of course, some data are more sensitive than other data. You might prefer people not to know how much you spend every month, but you would want them even less to find out the safety code of your debit card.

Financial information is very sensitive data and it is understandable that you'll want to keep it a secret. Bank accounts, PINs, financial records, payment history and passwords should never fall in the wrong hands. You will always want this information to be protected and secured. Now, imagine that you own a business or a large company, with lots of client data, merchant account activities, cards here and there, assets, addresses, correspondence, supplier data, internal accountancy, and plenty of other things you want nobody else to find about. Data security becomes vital for you, so you will want all your records and activities to remain safe, far away from the eyes of the rest of the world. Other institutions or professionals will also want to protect their files from leaking, like medical records or research results among others.

But are you sure that you know how to protect your data? When you dispose of your records, upsize or downsize, make changes and/or modernize your facilities, are your records really safe?

Paper shredding

Even in this digital era, paper files are still a big part of many companies. Financial firms hold piles and piles of data that they must keep safe for the sake of their clients and themselves as providers of the service and guardians of the information. Also, every company itself has its own records, payrolls, payments, client data, portfolios, documents, correspondence and an endless list of other paper-based files. Awareness on the importance of destroying these files properly when the time comes is widely spread among companies of all areas, especially medium and large businesses.

Ripping pages and throwing them to the bin is never enough to keep these records safe. Paper pieces can be rescued from the bin and put together. Since it's financial information, it's extremely valuable, so someone with not-so-good intentions might be willing to take the time and effort to do it. If you want to make sure that your and/or your clients' records are safe, you have to dispose of them properly, with a reliable shredding service.

There are shredding companies that offer secure destruction and posterior recycling of all your paper-based records. Shred First, in example, is very convenient because they provide on-site shredding. You will have one or more special paper bins they will leave at your place, and when they are full you can request them to collect the papers. They will come to your location with a mobile shredding station inside a truck, do the job and then dispose of the paper leftovers themselves.

Digital data shredding

Altough the importance and suggested procedures for safe paper shredding are widely known, there is a lot of misinformation about how to get rid of digital files. This is especially serious since nowadays companies work mostly, or even entirely, with computer data. Most people believe that by formatting drives or erasing files with the Recycling Bin they dissappear, but that is absolutely untrue. In most operative systems and drive models, information isn't literally erased, but replaced or hidden inside the drive. In other words, free access software like the one you can find in this article of Kaspersky and a couple minutes are enough to recover files that have been "erased" from a computer.

Actually erasing a drive is technically impossible, but instead you can make data dissappear, or at least become fragmented and useless, with special software. Top tip security has published a very clear and very complete article on this subject. This software overwrites data many times in order to erase all traces of the data. This way, computers and drives can be disposed of, donated or sold without the risk of data leak.

If you don't plan to donate or sell your digital equipment, comprehensive physical destruction of all drives and memory devices will be enough to ensure that data is lost forever. Paper shredding companies like Shred it also offer hard drive, flash disk and memory card destruction services. Partially broken drives can be physically reconstructed, so only total shredding will ensure that data is lost forever.

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