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The 4-Question Test: How Good Is Your Secure Destruction Program?

Albert Einstein famously said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask.”  

The point, of course, is that solving a problem usually boils down to asking the right questions. 

So, with that in mind, and with all due respect to the father of modern physics, we’ve taken the time here to list the 4 questions every business leader should be asking to determine the effectiveness of their organization’s secure data destruction program.  

 1.  Are we effectively addressing both our daily and our annual secure data destruction needs? 

Some organizations focus only on the routine destruction of media they generate on a daily or weekly basis but do nothing when it comes to the annual purges of their stored business records. Others securely destroy their stored business records, but allow their daily information generated around their operations to go out with the trash. Clearly, the answer should be that both daily and stored records should be securely destroyed. 

2.  Are we properly destroying all the various types of media and equipment that require secure destruction? 

In today’s world, every organization has paper records and computer equipment that require secure destruction. In addition, modern printers, fax machines, and copiers have hard drives or solid-state memory chips that keep a copy of everything running through them. Then there are the memory sticks, digital video recorders (DVRs), and even the network routers that hold sensitive information. Of course, all these other types of confidential media also need to be securely destroyed. 

3.  Are we minimizing employee discretion in what gets securely destroyed? 

If an employee is given more than one way to discard paper and other sensitive media, then the organization is unnecessarily trusting that each employee will make the right decision 100% of the time. To minimize this unacceptable risk, employees should only have one way to dispose of discarded media that ensures it will all be destroyed. The slight cost of destroying non-sensitive information is more than justified by the certainty that everything that should be destroyed is destroyed. 

4.  Do we have effective (written) secure data destruction policies and procedures? 

Despite all data protection regulations requiring organizations to have written secure data destruction policies, many don’t. At the same time, the organizations that do have them often provide insufficient instructions and insufficient internal accountability. This is unfortunate because, if a problem results from improper disposal, simply showing regulators that written data destruction policies were in place can substantially reduce the regulatory consequences. On the other hand, not having them is automatically considered negligent. We already know that most organizations have some system in place for destroying sensitive media. They just need to take the next step and write it down. Of course, these secure destruction policies and procedures are also going to include the criteria by which secure destruction service providers are selected. 

Four questions. That’s it. How’d you do? 

If, like most organizations, yours came up a little short, don’t fret.  

Shred Vault has more than 25 years’ experience in secure destruction. Our staff are among the most well trained and our systems among the most highly developed. Chances are we have helped scores of other businesses with a similar issue. 

No matter the challenge, whether it’s helping write policies and procedures, or figuring out how to capture the wide array of media your business generates, we’ve been there. 

Contact Shred Vault today! 

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