A Comprehensive Guide to Secure Shredding for Business & Personal Documents
Secure shredding is one of the safest ways to dispose of your end-of-life records and electronic devices. Whether you’re a business owner looking to protect your information-based assets or a family in need of secure destruction for personal and financial records, there are secure shredding options available to ensure that information never ends up in the wrong hands once you’re finished with it.
Types of Secure Shredding Services
There are various options for secure shredding and the best solution is dependent on the volume of records and frequency of need. Augusta Data Storage proudly partners with many local businesses to offer scheduled shredding services, but we can also accommodate one-time purge shredding and drop-off destruction for smaller volumes of items.
Wondering which option might be best for you? Here’s what you need to know.
On-site, Scheduled Shredding
Augusta Data Storage brings the shredding to you with our secure mobile units. We provide our clients with security knowing any sensitive information never has to leave their premises intact, offering secure containers for easy destruction and clean collection. We schedule and charge for on-site shredding according to volume and routine.
On-site shredding is the best option for:
- Businesses and offices that require routine shredding of sensitive information
- Organizations that regularly generate large volumes of personal or proprietary information through their day-to-day operations
Our scheduled shredding services are also available for hard drives and other small electronic devices.
When you’re dealing with mixed media or records in large volume, that may take more than one shift or may fill more than one shred truck, we often recommend our plant-based shredding services.
Our industrial equipment can shred a variety of items including
Additionally, we partner with 3rd-party vendors to work towards providing zero-landfill solutions for your shredded materials. And, as with any of our secure shredding services, we provide you with a certificate of destruction upon completion.
For businesses and local residents in need of one-time, small-batch shredding services, Augusta Data Storage offers drop-off shredding at our Augusta, GA facility.
Simply drop off your items and we’ll weigh and process them for destruction. Drop-off services are billed by the pound and subject to a minimum service charge of $30. We also provide drop-off shredding for end-of-life electronic devices, such as old laptops and phones!
Purging & Bulk Shredding
Bulk shredding, or purging, provides a quick and easy way to eliminate large volumes of out-of-date records and archived files. At the completion of your purge job, Augusta Data Storage provides you with a certificate of destruction as a record of compliance.
There are many reasons businesses elect to do bulk purge shredding. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Year-end scheduled bulk purge, based on the retention schedule
- Fiscal year-end purge, based on the retention schedule
- Post-tax-filing or audit purge, for any records not required to be archived
- Office move or relocation
Spring is a busy time for our secure destruction business. For many, it marks the end of tax season. For others, spring fever kicks in and the “spring cleaning” itch is in full force!
Whether you’re a business located in the Augusta metro area or a local resident, having a way to securely destroy your records is key to ensuring peace of mind as you’re lightening the load in your filing cabinets. If tax season also marks the end of your fiscal year, it might also mean it’s time for a bulk records purge.
How Often Should My Business Purge Records?
There is no set rule for scheduling record purges. Most often we see businesses using purge shred services based on their internal (or industry specifics) retention schedules, when they are relocating office facilities, or when the business is closing.
How Does my Business Know What to Purge and What to Keep?
For many industries, you can find information from your governing organizations about how long to keep specific information such as:
- Business Financial Statements
- Customer and Client information
- Patient Records
- Employee Records
How Should my Business Prepare for a Purge Project?
Once you’ve determined your retention schedule and know what stays and what goes, here are a few things you want to make sure to do before your purge project takes place.
1. Verify Retention Requirements:
We strongly encourage all of our customers to verify the retention requirements associated with their line of work. Requirements are different for each industry and it’s important to make sure that you are archiving records for the appropriate amount of time, and destroying those records when they are no longer needed.
2. Sort and Label records for destruction:
Make sure that you pre-sort all your records based on your organization’s retention policy or the regulatory requirements for your industry. Once you have identified which records should be destroyed, clearly mark them so that there is no confusion on the day of your purge project
3. Prepare your Items:
If your records are in boxes, please be sure to check them for items like 3-ring binders, binder and butterfly clips, and other bulky metal items that cannot be processed through paper shred plants. Here are a few tips to take into consideration.
4. Find a Trusted service provider:
Don’t trust your secure destruction to anyone! It’s important to maintain a secure chain of custody throughout the process. When you work with Augusta Data Storage, our trained, uniformed, and insured staff work to ensure that your records are kept secure throughout the process. Our processes and facilities are NAID AAA Certified, a certification we work hard to maintain.
5. Select the service option that works for you:
You can have your records shredded on-site, at your office, using our mobile shred plant, OR you can schedule to have your records picked up and transported back to our shred plant for processing. Regardless of which option you choose, your processes are NAID AAA Certified and come with a certificate of destruction for your records.
Save it or Shred it: Tips for Managing Personal Records
Just like with business records, there are also best practices for keeping archiving your personal records. When in doubt, many experts recommend the three-year rule for most financial records.
For personal files, medical records, contracts and more, you’ll likely want to keep those items long-term.
For a comprehensive list of best practices when it comes to personal records management, check out this guide.
How to Prepare Your Items for Secure Shredding Services
Whether you’re dropping off a few boxes of your personal records for secure destruction or are preparing for a one-time purge of years worth of business files, preparation is key.
Ensuring your files are prepped and ready helps to eliminate downtime and damage and streamlines the destruction process. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prep your files for shredding.
Be Careful with your Clips
When preparing documents for destruction, it’s important to know that we can’t accept items with large butterfly and binder clips. However, paperclips and staples are a-okay! Remember, remove any large clips from your documents before their arrival!
Folders vs. Binders
While we do accept documents in folders with tabs or small prongs, we don’t accept items residing within ringed binders. Be sure to remove all papers from any large binders, and never place binders into shred bins.
Plan your pickup or purge 3-5 days in advance to allow our team to schedule your appointment, providing you with plenty of time to prepare your items. If you’d like to use our drop-off shredding services, we accept items during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
Have items other than Paper? Keep Them Separate
If you are dropping off mixed-media items for shredding, please ensure that NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES are mixed in with the paper files. Sparks from shredding electronics pose an extreme fire hazard when mixed with paper during the shredding process.
When our customers ask what happens to their shredded documents, we’re happy to say that Augusta Data Storage recycles all paper pulp at Georgia Pacific. Our recycled materials are directly used to create new products, reducing landfills and providing environmental savings.
Looking for extra peace of mind? We have you covered.
If you’d need to observe the destruction process of your documents in our Augusta-based plant, we can provide that experience by appointment only.
When you take advantage of our mobile shredding service, we display your items being shredded on a monitor located on our truck.
[Please note: This article is not intended as legal advice. Should you need legal advice regarding document retention and secure shredding policies, please seek the appropriate legal counsel.]