Storage & Shredding: Expert Advice

Off-Site Vs. On-Site Shredding, What's the Real Deal?

Posted by Sean Kelly on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 @ 09:59 AM

One of the biggest changes to the shredding industry over the years is the appearance of the "Mobile Shredding Truck". Usually coming fully equipped with a shredder, tv monitor, and a big bad name, shredding trucks have their good qualities, but poor ones too. A lot of companies seem to enjoy the ability to view in "real time" the shredding of their documents. Unfortunately, what a lot of companies don't know is that on-site shredding can be performed by less than qualified staff and a less than qualified company.

Yes, you heard it right. Anyone with a cell phone, a one page website, and a truck can pass themselves off as a mobile shredding company. Are their services actually helping you become compliant with the laws? Do they have strict information security policies in place? What happens if the truck breaks down (like in the picture below). What is the level of security of the shredder that is being used in the truck? Some mobile shredding trucks have shown to actually let WHOLE CHECKS pass through, unshredder (proof is in the pudding, I mean picture, below). These are some things you need to question before electing to use a mobile shredding company.

Shredding security  How secure is your shredding operations
How comfortable would you feel if your
documents were shredded in that mobile truck?
 And then, ask yourself, how comfortable 
would you feel having a mobile shredding
truck shred your documents when the 
shredder lets WHOLE CHECKS pass through?

 

Off-site shredding is done by a shredding company who has a warehouse (real estate), an industrial shredder, and a bonded and insured warehouse staff, at the very least. Usually, a company that performs off-site shredding also offers and performs other records management related services and they hold certifications and memberships in order to do so, adding to their legitimacy.

I like the analogy of likening an off-site shredding company to a bank. You give the bank your money but you don't see them put it in the vault, so how do you know it is safe and will be there when you need it? Because a bank is insured. With a bonded and insured shredding company, you have the same circumstances. You don't need to watch the shredding be performed to know that your document will be securely and properly disposed of due to associations like NAID, the National Association of Information Destruction. NAID is the association that verifies and puts their "stamp of approval" on those companies who follow the highest security measures in their shredding operations. 

We aren't saying that you should not use a mobile shredding company (but you really shouldn't!) but what we are saying is, we don't think this mobile shredding trend is here to stay. What do you think? Feel free to leave you comments in the box below...

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Protecting Your Sensitive Documents: What You've Been Missing

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

So shredding your documents sounds easy, right? Well, part of the process is easy, the part where you find a reputable vendor. There are many shredding companies out there that offer a wide range of services to suit the needs of any size company (and even those who need to have personal shredding done). A reputable vendor can take care of the grunt work for you by performing the hard labor, picking-up your documents and either shredding them or storing them. The not-so-easy part of protecting your sensitive documents is being compliant with data protection laws in ALL facets... having a reputable vendor is just the "tail-end" of compliance.

Before you go looking for a company to shred your information, you need to take a look at the laws that affect you that govern what measures need to be taken in the data protection process. Although reading through each law is important (yes, tedious, but necessary), one important yet ambiguous part of the laws is that they are not specific.  In fact, they are not specific for a specific reason. Most laws use terminology such as "reasonable measures" when it comes to what you "must do" in order to protect your clients or patients sensitive information. So what does a "reasonable measure" constitute? Well it depends on a lot. What you must do, though, is to spend time working out what is reasonable cost-wise and effort-wise for your entity and then draft a written policy on the measures that you have decided to implement.

Your written policy should at the very least include the following:

-What your entity considers sensitive information

-What should be done when someone in your entity needs to dispose of sensitive information

-What training will be given to employees to ensure that all sensitive information is disposed of properly

-What vendor you will be using for shredding and document storage

-What your emergency plan is in the event a natural disaster strikes in the area of your office location

-What your plan is in the event of a security breach in your office

 

Don't know where to start now? Well here's a place, download our Compliance Packet by clicking the button below and get our 11 page packet that includes a summary of Massachusetts Data Protection Laws 93H & 93I, a compliance checklist, and an example of Safeguard's Written Information Security Policy.

Click me

 

 

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The Information Disposal Training Program for Employees, brought to you by NAID!

Posted by Sean Kelly on Fri, Apr 06, 2012 @ 01:28 PM

Calling all Doctors' offices! Are your data disposal practices HIPAA compliant? Do you feel comfortable with your employees' knowledge of HIPAA? Are you sure that they are following correct protocol? If you have any question in your mind about HIPAA related data disposal, then we have the perfect answer for you. It's called the NAID Employee Information Disposal Training Program. This program was developed by NAID, the National Association of Information Destruction, and is brought to you (Doctors' Offices) by document destruction vendors that are members of NAID. Safeguard Records Management is a document destruction vendor, and member of NAID, who has realized the importance of this training video and has absorbed the costs of the video and training materials to bring this NAID program to you FREE OF CHARGE.

One of the many benefits of this training includes the fact that it is the ULTIMATE RISK MINIMIZER. "How?" you ask... well, NAID has stated that "HIPAA regulators have written that when employees are appropriately trained on proper data disposal, healthcare providers will not be held full responsible for disposal violations". At the same time, NAID also tells us that "HIPAA regulators have stated that failure to provide such training will result in the highest level of mandory fines".

So what do you have to lose? well, a lot if your office doesn't take advantage of this training program that can be completed in only about a half an hour! To learn more, watch the NAID video below and then when you are ready to have your risk minimized, click on the blue button to request more information or to schedule a training session!

NAID training program

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4 Tips for (easy!) Document Managment & Organization

Posted by Sean Kelly on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 09:55 AM

Securely store or shred your documentsIf it's the end of the year/fiscal year for your office or business or you have been trying to get your paper documents organized for the past couple of year and you still have a backlog of documents and files that require cataloguing or destruction, we might be able to give you that boost of help to get your on your way to completing your records management project.

Having all of your important documents organized is essential to keeping your firm or office on-track and efficient, but the actual organization process can be tedious and painstaking. Still, it is important to keep an accurate record of your documents and to find out which documents you can safely dispose of.

An easy way to approach your end-of-the year document organization is to label your files and documents in 1 of 3 ways;

      For “Destroy"Paper shredding

 

For “Off-Site Storage”Secure off-site storage

 

For “In-House Storage”Office Storage

 

Having documents, records, patient files, and financial information organized and accounted for boosts an offices productivity and capacity. You know you need to tackle the issue, but how can you do it efficiently and at a minimal cost?

Below are four tips that can make your end-of-year document organization easier to deal with. These four tips can be done with the cooperation of a certified document shredding and storage company, allowing your firm, business, or office (and your life!) to operate as efficiently as possible with minimum interruptions.

  • Carefully classify and index documents. Before you can relocate or destroy documents, you’ll have to know what you’re dealing with. Indexing documents into the above three categories not only helps you find out exactly what documents your firm or office has but also lets you determine which documents you can safely destroy, which ones need to go into off-site storage, and which ones need to be kept on-site. Document indexing and classification also helps save you time in the future by allowing you to find the documents you need quickly and without struggle. You will also be putting in place a system that can easily be followed for years to come.

 

  • Digitize physical documents. Document digitization for use in a computer repository helps improve access and availability to important documents. Not only does this make it quicker to find what you need for legal and auditing purposes, you may be able to reduce the amount of physical paperwork you need to keep in the office and move the hard-copy records to an off-site storage facility or even have them securely destroyed if they are not needed.

 

  • Package documents for off-site storage. Off-site storage with a Records Management company frees up extra space for in-house document storage of frequently used and referred to documents and it saves you money and time when compared to self-storage where you often pay for unused space.Once you’ve segregated documents for off-site storage from sensitive material that requires destruction and materials that should be kept in the office, be sure to carefully pack and clearly label these items for future reference. Labeling is important for quickly locating stored documents for when you need to access your documents. It also aids in prompt file retrieval by your records management companies’ warehouse staff. A simple alphabetical labeling system on numbered boxes can greatly reduce the time it takes to find any document you may need and makes adding additional files to your storage boxes in the future quick and easy.

 

  • Securely shred and destroy sensitive documents. Now that you’ve gotten your necessary documents stored away, you can focus on having the rest destroyed. It is highly recommended to call on the services of a certified document shredding company to destroy sensitive and private documents. Doing so will prevent instances of confidentiality violations and industrial espionage.

 

Once you are able to implement an efficient system for your records management, any future managing will simply become easier and easier.

Click on any of the following to get a jump start on your end-of-year organization and be provided with a complete and economical solution for all of your document organization needs

 

 

 Green Customized Shredding Quote Click me 

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4 considerations for choosing the right Records Management Vendor

Posted by Sean Kelly on Fri, Nov 04, 2011 @ 03:00 PM

What to consider when choosing a records management vendor?Records management may be the most important business service that you've never heard of. In an era of increasing identify theft and more stringent regulations, however, it's time to get the facts on this important industry.

 


If your company handles or stores customer information like names, addresses, medical records, Social Security or bank account numbers, then finding a safe, secure way to both manage and dispose your office's paperwork isn't optional—it's mandated by law.  Depending on your industry, your business may be subject to federal laws like HIPAA or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, but state regulations often also apply. Some regs, like Massachusetts General Laws 93H and 93I, require companies to have written procedures that outline how paper and electronic files are secured on a day-to-day basis, as well as how they will be destroyed once they are no longer needed. When companies fail to meet these basic standards, they can be subject to prosecution and end up paying significant fines—sometimes per record.
A secure records management system starts with the right vendor
Here's where a Records Management System (RMS) comes in. These services come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but their purpose is essentially the same: to help companies manage their paper and electronic records in such a way that sensitive information is secured and properly stored, and remains accessible if needed in the future. A typical Records Management vendor will offer some (if not all) of the following services:

  • Site analysis and compliance documentation
  • Secure, off-site record storage for paper files
  • Online access to storage inventory
  • Scheduled document destruction services, one-time or ongoing
  • Document imaging for digital storage and retrieval
  • Disaster recovery planning

Of course, not all Records Management vendors are created equal. There are any number of companies to choose from—not all of whom can handle the job successfully.  Take the time to evaluate each vendor carefully, and consider the following:

NAID Certification
National Association for Information DestructionThe National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) offers training and certification for Records Management professionals. Records Management vendors with this credential have completed extensive training and have pledged to follow the standards and ethical practices of the NAID organization.



Compliance
A reputable Records Management vendor should know immediately what procedures your business needs to follow to be in compliance with federal and state laws. Educate yourself ahead of time regarding your particular industry so that you know whether their recommendations are on-target.

Security Issues
Secure storageLearn how the vendor you are considering secures its own facilities. Ask what safeguards are in place for physical files, as well as digitally stored information. Be sure that the company has a definite policy regarding employee background checks. Every employee, but especially those with direct contact with sensitive information, should be thoroughly checked before gaining access to your company's files.

Customer Service
The Records Management vendor you choose should provide evidence of their commitment to customer service. Consider how responsive and flexible the vendor has been during the sales process: Were they easy to reach? Able to offer scalable solutions to your particular company? Was their pricing competitive? Next, ask for references and determine whether or not existing customers are satisfied with their level of service. Finally, determine what procedures are in place to ensure that the vendor is accessible when needed. 24/7 online access to your records is an absolute requirement.

A reputable, service-oriented Records Management vendor will lower your company's risk exposure, reduce document storage costs and allow you to focus on growing your business. Take the time to evaluate your current and future records management needs—and then find the vendor who is right for the job.

 

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Medical Records Destruction- HIPAA Fines increased by 6,000%

Posted by Sean Kelly on Tue, May 10, 2011 @ 07:48 AM

Get HIPAA Compliant with secure document storageThe maximum fines for HIPAA violations have increased from $25,000 to $1,500,000. That's a 6,000% increase! Violations could include acts such as not properly destroying patient information before it is discarded. Also, if a practitioner has knowledge that their patients information has not been properly discarded, they are legally required to let both the authorities as well as their patients know that information is at risk.

The States' Attorneys General are now the ones in charge of ensuring HIPAA compliance. This change is meant to increase the policing of health care providers. AGs have already shown that they are ready to enforce the HIPAA laws and they are currently being trained by the Office of Civil Rights on how to effectively enforce HIPAA.

With fines reaching over one million dollars, you can never be "wrong" in doing what is right, performing safe and secure document destruction with Safeguard Records Management!

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