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Get rid of your docs safely

Getting rid of unwanted documents might sound like a simple task, but it isn’t. There are several factors that need to be considered, including security, cost issues and environmental aspects.

Paper-based or digitalized document destruction has become an increasingly important task at the end of the work process chain. Besides setting up the good old paper shredder in-house, other solutions that involve third-party companies helping to get rid of documents are becoming increasingly common.

For paper documents, the most common solution employed by companies is still shredding. It has the advantage of being portable and easily available and is often an economical option. Unfortunately, shredding is also easily compromised. For one thing, strip-shred documents can be easily reconstructed. There are now crosscut shredders available as well, and although they are more expensive, they do offer a higher security level in exchange. But in either case, the inadequate storage and handling of records at a firm before they come to be shredded can increase the risk of readable records leaving the premises in any format.

In large organizations where excessive amounts of paper documents are produced, employing an on-site shredder might not be enough. In this case, the company may assign a third party – usually a document management company – to take care of unwanted papers and files.

Most document management companies also offer document destruction services, and some of them will even take part in the process of selecting documents to be destroyed. They may also set up paper containers in clients’ offices where unwanted paper can be securely stored before it is taken away and destroyed.

When it comes to document destruction, environmental issues are nearly as important as security; at most companies, shredded documents are delivered for recycling. “The paper waste we produce at our shredders goes to paper processing factories and will be recycled,” Diána Uhrin-Szalay from Rhenus Office Kft told the Budapest Business Journal.

While security is a main concern in the document destruction processes, in this difficult economic environment many companies are price-sensitive and take the specialized company’s word for it that the process will be done securely.

“In these cases, partners do not check the actual destruction process,” Urhin-Szalay said. She added that their partners usually go for the full package (including the entire process of document management), and only a fraction of them order just document destruction services.

Demand for secure and environmentally friendly document destruction has been on the rise at DocuTár Kft as well. “The most important aspect of such services is that the entire process should be carried out in a ‘closed chain’, so it has to be regulated all the way from collection to final destruction,” Bernadett Apró, director of external relations at DocuTár said.

“The company has to proceed in strict confidence and ensure that no unauthorized persons have access to the documents during the process.” A report should also be written during the process that details the type of documents destroyed.

But even if a company acts in the most responsible way possible when getting rid of its unwanted or sensitive documents, the process always carries some risks. No matter how advanced the technology, it is only as reliable as the individual who operates it, professionals warn.