One of the biggest crimes afflicting the UK today is that of fraud. Whilst it is difficult to disclose the true cost of fraud, it is estimated to be costing UK businesses as much as £193 billion annually. Fraud is unrelenting and indiscriminate, targeting businesses of all sectors and size, eating into roughly 5% of their annual revenues. One of the main risks of fraud to UK businesses is through sensitive information which has managed to get into the wrong hands.
Businesses deal with vast amounts of sensitive information every day, ranging from customer details to confidential reports and financial details. Sensitive information leaves your business vulnerable to fraud if not kept, or disposed of, securely. Not doing so could have a devastating effect on business, both financially and socially – especially with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect May 2018. By leaving your business exposed to these risks, you will be open to legal issues through not complying with UK laws. For UK businesses of all sizes, preventing fraud is better than dealing with the tough consequences.
Don’t bin it, shred it
Although many businesses have made the shift to storing the majority of their data electronically, paper files are still being produced regularly and are often ignored or disposed of incorrectly. Many businesses are either lazy or unaware or what the consequences entails and believe that simply tearing a paper in half, binning it or sending it to the landfill site is enough. Un-shredded paper documents left in the bin, or thrown outside for collection, face the risk of being poached for identity theft, corporate fraud and industrial espionage purposes. Not only does this represent a significant business risk, but any organisation that doesn’t shred sensitive personal data in accordance with a corporate shredding policy could also be in breach of the GDPR leading to serious legal consequences.
By shredding sensitive information, not only are you compliant with UK laws, you are also protecting your employees, customers, stakeholders and your business reputation. There are two options for shredding documents; businesses can either shred papers themselves using office shredders or there are approved and accredited shredding companies who will take over the documents and shred them for you.
The GDPR in more depth
Not only can shredding prevent fraud but it can help businesses to meet GDPR requirements by providing an effective way of disposing of data securely to prevent access by third parties.
The GDPR is part of the European Commission’s plan to modernise and harmonise data protection rules. While the GDPR’s main objective is to strengthen online privacy rights, it still addresses paper-based data privacy. It focuses on tackling the ever-increasing challenges towards data protection and privacy, exposure to security breaches, hacking and other unlawful processing.
By law, the information you create, receive and process must be destroyed compliantly. As well as being a legal obligation, with every business susceptible to a data breach, shredding is essential to the confidentiality of customers, employees and others who trust them with their personal information. Whilst not to mention protecting the reputation of your brand, intellectual property and competitive information. If staff are not trained on current legislation they could be making the wrong decisions and put your business at risk.
To prepare, you must put in clear policies which will:
- Allow staff to understand their obligations and accountability
- Ensure you will be able to react quickly to data security breeches
- Ensure privacy is embedded into any new products and processes
Shredding is the simple yet efficient solution to protecting your data. Shredding documents will not only ensure that you are compliant with UK laws, but also protects your company and reputation from fraud.
What to shred
To protect your sensitive information it is important to make sure you shred the following documents when no longer in use:
- Employee application forms and records
- An account number (bank account number, customer number, etc)
- A National Insurance number
- Salary or tax details
- Medical and patient records
- Usernames and passwords
- Company letterheads, letters and emails
- Business cards
- Business plans
- Financial accounts
- Customer data
- Case files
How we can help
We understand our customers’ working environments are different and varied; and being experts in business supplies you can be confident your organisation is in safe hands. As well as stocking an extensive range of shredding machines, we also provide a secure destruction service.
Contact us to find out more about the secure disposal of sensitive information and how we can help you with your shredding requirements.