Storage & Shredding: Expert Advice

Improper Document Destruction offenders EXPOSED

Posted by Sean Kelly on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 @ 12:33 PM

 

confidential file image

 DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let this happen to you! Even though everyone says "oh, it won't happen to me", don't be that person. It can, and will, happen to you. What is 'it' though? 'It' is the heavy imposition of FINES on you for the improper disposal of sensitive information. These fines are imposed by both Massachusetts state laws (93H and 93I which require the proper destruction of information containing social security numbers, driver's license numbers, financial account numbers, and credit or debit card numbers) as well as federal regulations like HIPAA that require the secure destruction of PHI (protected healthcare information)as well as FACTA. If anything is to be taken away from this blog, it should be that the DUMPSTER is NO PLACE for the disposal of any kind of sensitive record. If you even have to question whether or not the information is "sensitive", then it probably is. Too many times companies, large and small, are exposed, and fined heavily, for disposing of sensitive information belonging to their clients, patients, or customers simply into the trash. 

For the companies that don't heed warning and do not take the proper steps to ensure the security and proper disposal of sensitive information, they are used to make examples of what NOT to do. This is done by way of news reporters plastering the names of companies, and what they did, all over the headlines. For example, big corporations like RiteAid, Walgreens, and CVS were all EXPOSED for their improper disposal of private prescription information. Hitting closer to home, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center is investigating how patient financial information was found floating around on the streets outside of a building in Charlestown. Thankfully, the hospital is taking the correct measures to ensure that this does not happen again. Also, the hospital did what it is required to do by law when a data breach of this sort happens and they notified the Massachusetts Attorney General's office. 

Then, we come across a more interesting situation where SHREDDED PAPER was used as confetti in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. So what's the big deal? We'll the shreds were very thick and cut perfectly horizontal across the paper so that perfectly clear lines of text were able to be read, including social security numbers, and other sensitive information. It is clear that a typical office shredder was used to shred these documents since that is the common level of "security" that an office shredder provides. The differences between an office shredder and a commercial shredder is the level of security in the 'cut' of the paper. Security levels 1-6 exist with the higher the level, the higher the security of the cut. Office shredders typicall have level 1 or 2 security where the shreds of paper are thick, easy to read and easy to reconstruct. Security levels 3 and 4 give consequtively smaller cuts of paper and allow for cross-cutting, inhibiting the readability of the shreds as well as inhibiting the ability to reconstruct the shreds. Security levels 5 and 6 are recommended for destroying top-secret government or research documents due to the shreds coming from this shredder being like grated-cheese. It is typical of a commercial shredding company to have a shredder with a security level from 3-6. Then, in some instances, a reputable shredding company will go one step further and have your shreds pulverized and recycled. 

The one thing that could have made a huge difference in each of these three situations is if the drug stores, the hospitals, and the police stations had all used a document shredding and storage company for their storage and destruction needs. Although the actions of safe and secure document storage and destruction seem straight forward and simple, they are best to be left in the hands of those companies who make it their sole purpose to protect information (yes, even AFTER it is shredded!). 

Tags: data protection, document shredding services boston, compliance laws, records, Massachusetts State Laws, 93I, Protected health information, 93H, Document Destruction regulations, compliance, privacy, PHI, shredding services

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...

Tags: data security, data protection, document shredding services boston, shredding worcester, shredding, Office Records Destruction, 93I, Shredding company, 93H, destruction, document management, Document Destruction regulations, document shredding services worcester, Certified document destruction, worcester shredding, shredding boston

Why The Personal Shredder Just Doesn't 'Cut' It

Posted by Sean Kelly on Tue, Oct 09, 2012 @ 10:22 AM

Next time you're thinking of using a personal shredder for the disposal of your credit card statements, bank account information, insurance policy information, or even those "junk mail" credit card offers, you may want to think again. In a recent article by MSN money, the personal shredder was shown to fall "below the cut" when it comes to document security and keeping your sensitive information out of the hands of identity thieves. The article highlights how earlier in the year, a couple was arrested and charged with identity theft after putting back together the shreds from a personal shredder that were discarded in a trash bag. From these reassembled shreds, the perps were able to gain access to routing numbers and bank accounts and stole over $1,000 from a local church by using fraudulent checks (it was later discovered by detectives that the theives had machinery that used the shreds to reconstruct checks and pass them off as legitimate).

So what is the difference between a personal shredder and a shredding company? Are you thinking that they do the same things? If so, think again! Personal shredders are much different than industrial shredders, and what is done with the shreds afterwards is done so that even beyond the shredding process, your information is kept secure until it is completely obliterated, and turned into pulp, without the chance of anyone having access to it ever again.

Personal Shredder Shreds

(typically strip-cut)

Industrial Shredder Shreds

(highest security available)

secure shredding

 Let Safeguard Records Management securely, and properly destroy your information and help you feel confident in the security of your information, even after it has been shredded. To request more information, or to request a quote, click on any of the following buttons. You'll be happy (and feel more secure) that you did!

 

-Laws affecting you and your industry

-Contact us

Green Customized Shredding Quote

 

For more information on the articles mentioned above, please visit the MSN Money article

 

Tags: document shredding services boston, legal file shredding, shredding worcester, Office Records Destruction, Shredding company, Document Destruction regulations, document shredding services worcester, Certified document destruction, health insurance fraud

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

 

 

Tags: data security, data protection, document shredding services boston, compliance laws, legal file shredding, Massachusetts State Laws, Federal FACTA, Protected health information, 93H, HIPAA, non-compliance, destruction, document management, Document Destruction regulations, Legal file archiving, federal regulations

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

Tags: data security, data protection, document shredding services boston, compliance laws, Protected health information, HIPAA, non-compliance, destruction, Document Destruction regulations, compliance, privacy, PHI, document shredding services worcester, Certified document destruction, worcester shredding, Medical, new laws, healthcare

Records Management that Doubles as Risk Management

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 @ 01:19 PM

Have you made sure your data is safe? If not, there is a chance it will cost you financially. It could ruin your reputation as well.

In a recent news story, MetLife, headquartered in New York City, whose revenues topped $50 million in 2008, felt the effect of laws involving data storage security. Because they failed to use records management as risk management, they were fined $70,000. Apparently, when they moved from one location to the next, they discarded a lot of trash in the dumpsters outside the office. In it were sensitive records containing social security numbers, addresses and financial account information of people who were current and former clients of MetLife. The hard copy files remained in dumpsters outside the building for well over three days. During this time, anyone could have acquired the information and used it for identity theft.

In North Carolina, a news article from 2010 about Prompt Med spoke of a $50,000 fine, from the urgent care unit having thrown into a dumpster sensitive information including financial accounts and identification numbers of over 700 patients. Records management as risk management would have clearly helped here.

The Carolina Center for Development and Rehabilitation was highlighted in this article for having illegally disposed of the financial information of nearly two thousand patients in 2011. The fine for this was $40,000. The senior officers had plenty of warning about records management as risk management from the above previous incidents, but did not learn from it.

More and more information these days must be secured and companies are having to treat records management as risk management. With the advent of identity theft, any written, electronic, or printed records must be protected if they include personal information about a client. And if the records are to be discarded for any reason, they must be destroyed in a proper fashion, so that the information contained within is kept safe. From this was born the idea of records management as risk management.

Risk management rpocedures are extremely important to implement to prevent Identity theft. Identity theft is any person's personal information being used by another to illegally remove money from bank accounts, acquire loans and passports and commit other crimes. Identity theft is now also known as identity fraud.

There are state and federal laws in place across the country to ensure that the destruction of certain files is done so properly, in order to prevent Identity theft. If proper measures are not take, then the company responsible for not following the precautions can be given some fairly big fines.

In Massachusetts, the laws that aid in the prevention of identity theft are called the General Law 93H and 93I, and are applicable to all companies in the state of Massachusetts secure all data that include personal information, such as bank account numbers, credit and debit card numbers, and the like that have the ability to create identity theft opportunities.  

In addition, each company must have safeguards, by the employment of valid identification systems, in order to keep non-authorized personnel from gaining access through computers, or in hard copy files. The company must also keep all locations safe from outside the company. On a regular basis, companies shall be audited to ensure they within compliance. According to the 93I, a company must document the policy of their destruction procedures.

The fines for non-compliance of 93H requires for the company to pay five thousand dollars for each record that was not kept safe. For 93I, the fine is one hundred dollars for each record, with a cap of fifty thousand dollars. These ordinances came into law in 2005.

In addition to state laws, The Federal FACTA Disposal Rule maintains any person or business using consumer reports must make sure all the information within those reports remain completely secure when discarded.

In summary,the risks that someone takes for improper document disposal are inexplicable. Primarily, risks cannot be taken anymore because it is the law to practice safe and secure document disposal, but secondly when there are a multitude of risk management strategies available through document shredding and management companies, how can someone not take advantage of a simple way to reduce risk?

Need to start managing your risk? Or change your strategy? We can help... click on any of the buttons below to be on your way to a risk management solution!

 

 Click me Click me  Green Customized Shredding Quote

 

Tags: data protection, compliance laws, Records management, shredding worcester, Massachusetts State Laws, Office Records Destruction, 93I, Federal FACTA, 93H, Records Retention, HIPAA, document management, Document Destruction regulations, compliance, federal regulations, document shredding services worcester, records storage worcester, Certified document destruction, identity theft, shredding boston

A Resolution for Records Management

Posted by Sean Kelly on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 @ 11:25 AM
 

New years resolutionAs the memories of our New Year's celebrations begin to fade, all too often so do our memories of our New Year's resolutions. However, no matter how easy it is to slide back into old habits, the New Year is an excellent time to work on making yourself better. The same goes for records management. Now is the perfect time to create a set of resolutions for proper record storage, retrieval, and document shredding. In that spirit, here are our suggestions:

Resolution 1 – We Will Assume All Paper Has Potentially Private Information

No matter how hard you train your employees on NPI procedures, mistakes happen. A document gets mis-filed, or a worker jots down a social security number on scrap paper because their computer locked up.  And, document shredding is cheap. If you shred everything when it's no longer needed, you can't risk an NPI violation, and it reduces your storage and retrieval costs too. An added perk is that most reputable shredding companies recycle all of the paper they shred!

Resolution 2 – We Will Remember That Electronic Records Need Management Too

Yes, having everything computerized makes record storage and retrieval easier, but computers also enable poor records management too. Without physical paper around, filing and destruction deadlines can pass unnoticed. Make sure that your electronic records are policed as carefully as your paper documents.

Resolution 3 – We Will Properly Organize and Barcode Everything We Store

A proper barcoding system does wonders for record storage and document retrieval. It makes final retrieval easier, and allows for a simple way to establish the chain of custody for any set of records. When tied to database software, this also allows for automated tracking of when document shredding time has come around for a particular set of records. Most of the time, if you elect to utilize the help and expertise of a records management company, they will usually either aid in, or perform, the barcoding and organization process for you.

Resolution 4 – We Will Start A Review of Our Records Management Today!

There's no time like the present. Even if you're certain that your business is current on its record storage, document shredding, and data retrieval policies, there's no harm in giving a thorough review of your policies to make sure they're being followed but most importantly, make sure that the policies you have in place are not out of date. Older procedures are not optimized to save time or money because they don’t take advantage of the services that have become more available and more attainable over the years. If you're behind on your record-keeping or you think your policies and procedures could use a tune up, now is definitely the time to start!

And if you need help, don't hesitate to contact us here at Safeguard Records Management Co.  With over fifteen years of experience in record storage and retrieval, and multiple options for secure document shredding, we can help you become fully organized no matter what field you're in.

 Click to read more information on, or request a quote for, Document Shredding and Records Storage to get started on your RM Resolution!

 

 

 

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Meeting your Records Management needs in 2012... See what is to come!

Posted by Sean Kelly on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 @ 10:44 AM

As 2011 comes to a close, businesses and offices are wrapping up their yearly doings, taking time to enjoy the holidays with colleagues, and getting ready for the start of the new year. Safeguard is too! Safeguard Records Management has decided to bring TWO exciting new offerings to the table in order better serve our destruction and archive customers.

 

Our first new offering will allow prospective and current ongoing destruction customers to have choices when it comes to their ongoing destruction bin. We are offering a new, duraflex destruction console in addition to the two convenient sized 35- and 65- gallon bins.This Console has many benefits over our shredding bins for offices looking for a more aesthetically pleasing ongoing destruction solution.

The sleek, clean console with a slit top and locking door allows for the security of a locking bin with the added benefit of looking more like it "belongs". Also, the console stays in place with only the interior insert being emptied rather getting a different bin during every rotation.

If your interested in receiving a shredding console, or switching our your bin for a console, contact Sean Kelly via contact form, phone, or e-mail.

Request a shredding console

shredding console

 

 

Watch this video in order to get a general idea of what the Compliance Training can do for your office

Our second, most exciting offering that Safeguard has decided to take on and provide to our customers in the healthcare industry is the Doctor's Office Compliance Training Program. This exciting program has been developed by NAID, the National Association for Information Destruction and is applicable to healthcare and dental offices. And the best part... it's free! Yes, FREE! The way NAID gets this compliance training program out to healthcare offices is through certified NAID document destruction providers like Safeguard Records Management.

 

The program can easily be summarized with the 3 following steps:

Receive the video

 Watch & Learn

 Be compliant!

That's it! Simple and quick and you're compliant, just like that! So what are the benefits of your office completing this compliance training you ask?

 

The best part about completing the HIPAA compliance training is, primarily, that you are at less risk of a breach of patient information (and yes, there is a but) BUT everyone knows that anything can happen these days and breaches can happen even in the most compliant and secure offices so here is where the training program really gives you a HUGE benefit... even if there is a breach of data or information, YOU ARE NOT HELD FULLY LIABLE BECAUSE YOU TOOK THE NECESSARY STEPS (i.e. the training) IN ORDER TO BE COMPLIANT!


Can it get any better than that? For minimal time and ZERO cost to you, your office can get trained on compliance with the HIPAA regulations for safeguarding healthcare information. With the maximum HIPAA fine going up 6,000% from $25,000 to $1,500,00 you have to ask yourself, can you really afford not to complete this zero cost training? (Click for more information on HIPAA)

Compliance Training for Healthcare Professionals

 

2012 is gearing up to be a great year for Safeguard Records Management as we look to expand and improve our services in order to meet and exceed the growing needs of our customers. If you'd like to have Sean Kelly get in touch with you regarding anything you have read, please fill out a Contact Us form and he will respond to your inquiry within a couple of hours. In the mean time, be on the lookout for more information on our shredding consoles and the Doctor's Office Compliance Training Program so you can take advantage of it as soon as the new year rolls in!

Happy Holiday's and Happy New Year from everyone at Safeguard!

 

 

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