Your old documents are starting to pile up, taking up valuable space. Or, perhaps your record retention schedule states that it’s time to dispose of certain documents, but you aren’t sure how to safely do so.
Here are a few guidelines to follow to properly dispose of paper documents.
Establish a Record Retention Schedule
A record retention schedule supplies a list of records that your company keeps and states how long you should keep each type of record.
You should be specific when adding a group of records to your record retention schedule. Give each record a title, an Office of Record (this states which department is responsible for maintaining the record for the stated period), and the retention period.
As you’re going through your documents, refer to your record retention schedule to decide what items to keep and what needs to be tossed.
Utilize a Safe Method for Document Disposal
Once you’ve decided which documents you should dispose of, you need to know how to properly get rid of them. Using non-secure methods potentially puts sensitive information at risk.
One alternative is to use a paper shredder. A strip-cut paper shredder shreds documents in one direction and lasts a long time, but they’re less secure. Department of Defense (DOD)-certified shredders shred documents into small pieces but are more expensive.
Another option is to hire a document shredding company that will dispose of your paper documents for you. You’ll usually pay by the pound when using a commercial service. After your documents are shredded onsite, they’ll haul the shredded pieces away.
If you outsource your shredding, make sure to hire a National Association of Information Destruction (NAID)-approved vendor. A vendor approved by the NAID follows a set of established procedures designed to keep documents secure and to ensure they’re correctly disposed of.
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