Individuals and businesses have a difficult decision to make when choosing between on-site shredding and off-site shredding. It’s hard to make that choice when you don’t know the upsides and downsides of each option. One of the biggest considerations is whether to sacrifice a little extra money to ensure your safety and security.
On-site shredding ensures your documents are destroyed once they leave your possession. There is no extended chain of possession between the time the documents leave your control until the time they actually get shredded. With on-site shredding, the information gets locked in a container and is never left unsupervised. This essentially eliminated the potential of your documents being lost or stolen. Your private information is destroyed on-site before it ever leaves your possession.
Off-site shredding can appear to be more cost-efficient. However, there is no way to ensure your documents were really shredded or how many people had access to your information before they were destroyed. The paper goes from your possession, to either a truck driver or into a locked container. Assuming the driver safely secures the boxes and locks the truck accordingly, the paper will eventually arrive at the shredding facility. It is not uncommon for a shredding company to make several stops to pick-up documents from other people or companies before returning to the facility. At this point, your documents continue through the factory where the shredding occurs and pass by an uncountable number of hands. If the process goes as planned, your documents will be destroyed for an amount slightly cheaper than on-site shredding. However, it is difficult to determine if your documents have in fact been shredded before irreversible harm occurs.
In December 2015, a truck driver for an off-site shredding company in Fort Meyers, Florida failed to secure the truck’s doors properly. This innocent mistake resulted in over 480,000 patients protected medical information and personal information being compromised. Similarly, in October 2014, a truck driver for a different off-site shredding company in Omaha, Nebraska, failed to latch the truck’s door. Thousands of pages of medical records, including full boxes of records, blew out or fell out of the back of the truck.
Some of the risks associated with off-site shredding are not due to accidents or negligence. Earlier in 2014, an employee of an off-site shredding company in Fort Worth, Texas, stole and sold information to identity thieves. Further investigation into these incidents revealed that the potential number of victims is in the thousands and total monetary loss in the millions. Court documents labeled this occurrence a “multi-state theft-ring”.
With all the dangers and possibilities of your personal information falling into the wrong hands, why wouldn’t you want your documents shredded before thet leave your facility? On-site shredding is considerably more secure and beneficial to your or your business and your clients.