Posted on April 9th, 2008 2 comments
One of the fastest growing crimes of our time is identity theft. In recent years, identity thieves have left many people feeling uneasy and with good reason. As soon as someone steals something that can provide them with your identity, such as financial records, legal documents, or medical records, they can use everything that you have worked for to their benefit.
It is relatively easy for someone to steal your identity, especially for those who know what they are doing. Once your information has been stolen, your bank account can be emptied or the balance on your credit cards can be run up. It is hard to catch an identity thief and it’s not easy to fix what they have done. The best way to be safe from identity theft is to prevent it. In order to protect yourself, you need to know what a thief is looking for and be sure to shred such documents.
Here are the top 20 documents to shred (in no particular order) to protect yourself against identity theft :
1. Financial records are an obvious hit for identity theft. These documents contain all your financial information, possibly even your account numbers.
2. Magnetic media – tapes, disks, CD’s or anything storing electronic data.
3. Payroll records. These documents contain how much money you make, exactly what thieves want to know.
4. Legal documents. Even though these documents might not contain financial information, they most likely contain personal information that can lead to your financial info.
5. Account records – which contain personal information like your address, phone number and sometimes even your social security number.
6. Medical records
7. Class Rosters
8. Maps and blueprints
9. New product proposals. If this falls into the hands of a thief, they can propose your product before you do.
10. Inventory lists. This is like a map for a robbery. Knowing what you have makes it really easy to know what to steal.
11. Confidential correspondence – such as letters, emails, etc.
12. Customer lists and estimates
13. Tax records contain lots of personal information. Also how high your taxes are is dependent on how much you make.
14. Outdated business records
16. Cancelled checks
17. Price Lists
18. Microfilm and fiche
19. Credit and ID Cards
20. Junk Mail – this is overlooked quite often.
Posted on January 17th, 2008 No comments
Recycling paper is the process of taking waste paper, or paper that would otherwise be thrown out, and remaking it into new paper products. Paper that can be used to make recycled paper is broken down into three categories- mill broke, pre-consumer waste, and post-consumer waste. Mill broke paper is paper that becomes scrap during the manufacturing of paper and it is recycled right in the paper mill. Pre-consumer paper waste is papers that were discarded before consumer use. Post-consumer paper waste is papers that were discarded by the consumer after use. Paper that is used in recycling is called scrap paper.
What is the recycling process?
There are usually 8 steps in the process of recycling paper. The first is called pulping, which is adding water to the paper and using machines to separate the fibers. The second step is screening, where screens are used to remove contaminants that are larger than the fibers. Next is centrifugal cleaning during which the materials that are denser than fiber are released. Flotation or deinking then causes ink to collect on the surface of the paper. The fifth step is called kneading or dispersion. Here machines help remove any remaining contaminant particles. Nest washing helps remove any small particles by passing water through the fibers. If the paper is supposed to be white, it is now bleached. Finally, the recycled paper is clean and it is now made into a new paper product.
What types of paper can be recycled?
Each recycling plant accepts different kinds of paper for recycling. Some types of paper forms that are commonly accepted include:
• White and colored paper
• While and colored envelopes
• Booklets or manuals
• Fax or copy paper
• Greeting cards
• Post-it notes
• Soft covered books
• Manila folders
• Collapsed cardboard boxes
90% of paper is made from wood. Paper production uses about 43% of harvested wood. Recycling newspaper saves about 1 ton of wood and recycling print or copy paper saves about 2 tons of wood.
Energy consumption is also reduced by recycling. However, the exact energy savings is still being debated. The Energy Information Administration claims that when paper is made with recycled paper, there is a 40% reduction in energy use, but the Bureau of International Recycling says that there is a 64% reduction. Regardless of which estimate is correct, both numbers represent a significant energy savings.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that recycling paper causes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution.
What are some of the resources saved per ton of paper recycled?
• 17 trees
• 350 pounds of limestone
• 60,000 gallons of water
• 9,000 pounds of steam
• 275 pounds of sulfur
• 225 kilowatt hours
• 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
Recycling paper has substantial benefits on our eco-system and it is so easy to do! Many communities have a recycling pickup day just as they have garbage pickup days. Simply contact your local waste management center to find out how to begin recycling in your community!
Posted on November 29th, 2007 No comments
Corporate Espionage is a growing problem and threat to more companies than you probably think! Below I will dispense some information every business owner should know!
What Is Corporate Espionage?
Espionage is the practice of obtaining information about an organization that is considered secret and confidential without the permission of the information holder themselves. In other words… spying. Espionage involves accessing the location where the information is actually stored- As in entering an office building to try and seek out the company’s methods and tactics or gaining unauthorized access to a company computer. It also involves contacting the people who know the desired information and trying to get them to slowly divulge it.
How Dangerous Is It?
Corporate Espionage is a serious risk to any business that depends on information. Any ‘spy’ who is targeting a company is seeking inside information that the company depends on for its success. If that outsider is able to gain access to that information, then the company no longer has a leg up on competition, it levels the playing field. To say the very least…
Some examples of information that is often sought after:
• Client List – any list of current and past clients, their contact information, and what products and services they purchased from you.
• Supplier Agreements – information that lets others know what kind of agreements you hold with your suppliers, your relationship with them, and what you are or plan to be using them for.
• Personal Records – records indicating spending habits, income, bank balances and account numbers, commonly called phone numbers, credit card accounts, ect.
• Research Documents – any research history that can help foretell where you plan to take the company in the next few years.
• Prototype Plans – plans, paper work, contracts, or actual physical prototypes of a new product or service you plan to offer.
• A few other examples include : patents, pricing strategies, source code, and unique manufacturing and technological operations.
Any of the above information could be greatly beneficial to the unauthorized individual who has stolen it from you. It can lead to devastating financial effects to a company causing them to lose clients and money to their untrustworthy competitor. The information could also be used for scams, credit card fraud, and blackmail.
Much to the company’s own downfall, security for this coveted information is often an afterthought. Most corporations are developing new technologies faster than they can protect them. Very few companies are spending the time and money to implement the hardware, software, and services required to monitor and protect their information.
How Does It Happen And How Can I Fight It?
Corporate Espionage can happen in a number of ways, but basically it’s any breach of security in your company. Methods range from computer hacking, theft, and intimidation, to dumpster diving and personnel impersonations.
A few basic things you can do to protect yourself:
1. Make employees aware of ‘Social Engineering Ploys.’ Make sure they are familiar with the tactics so they can recognize it when something happens. Set up a procedure for them to follow in the event they think they are a target of a social engineering attack.
2. Make sure you have sufficient physical building security. Your office building houses your employees, files, computers, servers, and all your other valuable information and sources. Invest in video surveillance and make sure it gets checked often.
3. Keep the latest security software on your computers and servers at all times. These are common points of attack for any corporation so it’s key to keep them locked up.
Despite the digital world we live in, dumpster diving is the most common method used to obtain confidential data without the information owner finding out. It’s a messy and primitive method, but is very successful in acquiring trade secrets. But how can that be? Someone can just take your information right out of your garbage can? Yes, dumpster diving is disgusting and totally legal. Once you discard it onto a public street for garbage pickup, it’s totally fair game. Dumpster Divers have been successful in obtaining company phone books, organization charts, memos, company policy manuals, meeting calendars, system manuals, login names and passwords, source code, disks and tapes and much more.
So what can you do?
Use a shredding company! Shred EVERYTHING! No longer is just paper print outs your biggest liability, CD’s, DVD’s, hard drives, servers are all a huge threat to you if they land in the wrong hands. Seek a company who has the ability to successfully destroy any and all confidential matter.
Companies such as MicroShred (http://www.microshred.com) can render any confidential material totally unreadable. Unlike your typical shredder which leaves paper in pieces that potentially can be put back together, MicroShred uses locked confidential boxes that are dumped into a shredder and destroyed. CD’s, uniforms, labels, ID access cards, hard drives… it all can be destroyed!
Posted on November 2nd, 2007 No comments
When it comes to the confidential matters of your company, you can never be too safe. Every business owner should take every precaution possible to ensure all confidential materials are totally destroyed to minimize the chance of a security breach.
What Will A Security Breach Do To My Company?
Simply put? Nothing good. If you don’t have a secure document shredding system, you’re putting your company at a great risk. Confidential information in the wrong hands will cost you in more than one way. You and your clients are both at risk. As far as your company goes, what if someone gets a hold of your old bank statements? Before you know it, they’ve depleted your company’s bank accounts, your checks bounce-causing your company embarrassment in the corporate world. It can hurt your relationships with your venders making it difficult for you to continue to purchase goods and services from them, and all around give your company a black eye.
And that’s just one side of the coin! Companies who suffer a breach in security lose customers. It’s a fact. If someone can gain unauthorized access to your confidential information, then your client base may see that as a lack of care to detail on your part. They will often lose confidence in you and your ability to keep their information safe. For example, let’s say a client buys a product from a retailer, they provide that retailer with their full name, address, and credit card information for delivery and billing purposes. Now let’s say that retailer isn’t using a secure document shredding process to safely destroy the client’s confidential information. Because of this, the client’s data gets stolen and is used to steal their identity and cause them great money loss, stress, and aggravation. The client will in turn blame the retailer, seeing as they are in fact the ones who were careless with the information, and they will probably never use that company again. Now that’s just one client, what if it happened to hundreds?
Believe it or not, client loss isn’t even the worse that can happen. Some people who suffer financial loss or insecurity because of a company will be happy to come right back at them with a lawsuit. 23 to 50 million Americans have received notification of some form of data security breach, 5% of them have hired lawyers, that’s well over a million people that are seeking legal action against companies. Is that a risk you can afford to take?
What Can I Do To Avoid A Security Breach?
Luckily, all this tragedy can easily be avoided putting both you and your clients at ease. The answer is simple- a professional, experienced, and most importantly, secure document shredding service can render all your confidential data 100% unreadable. Regular shredders that simply cut papers into stripes don’t do the job; those pieces can be put back together and read! Even machines that dice and cube your documents aren’t totally safe. Amazingly enough, someone with enough determination can puzzle those tiny pieces back together and all you’re left with is a false sense of security. What you need is a company who can safely and securely destroy all that confidential data and recycle it for you too! Some shredding companies can also destroy more than just paper! If you’ve saved a lot of confidential data onto a hard drive that you will no longer be using, simply deleting or formatting the job isn’t safe. That information can still be extracted!
So What Does This All Mean?
Simply put, it means that you can never be too safe. Using a secure shredding service should be a normal part of your company’s operation. It’s a risk no company running today can afford to take. Companies large and small should take this seriously: the larger the company, the more information there is to be stolen; the more money you make, the more likely you’ll be targeted; the smaller you are, the less clients you can afford to lose.
Take action before any damage is done. Using a professional, experienced shredding service will protect your bottom line! It’s as easy as that!
MicroShred (http://www.microshred.com), a mobile high security shredding and recycling service in Southern California and Southern Florida. We provide a secure, convenient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly method to dispose of highly sensitive and confidential documents and other materials. Our mobile shredding units come to you and shred all sensitive material at your location, under your supervision. MicroShred can destroy items like hard drives, motherboards, CD’s, microfiche, and much more!
Posted on October 25th, 2007 No comments
In 1988 the Supreme Court ruled that all trash is public domain. Therefore making it more dangerous to just tear papers in half and toss them. Shredding has become a necessity in a person’s life. How important is it really? What can you toss away and what absolutely must find its way to a shredder?
1. Why Shred? Shredding documents isn’t just an easy way to make unwanted paper take up less space, it’s a big help in protecting yourself from one of today’s most invasive crimes, identity theft. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing types of fraud. In 2006, there were 67,000 recorded victims. Identity theft is much more than misuse of a Social Security number-it can also include credit card and mail fraud. ‘Bin raiders’ are taking advantage of carelessness and the relaxed “that’ll never happen to me” attitude. It’s as simple as this… Thieves can’t steal what they can’t read!
2. How Do I Determine What I Should Shred? Obviously anything that contains information that you don’t want anyone else to read is something you should shred. For a criminal, your name and address can be used for a multitude of things, so be careful what you put out there. Throwing it in the garbage can just isn’t good enough. I’ve heard about plenty of instances where identity thefts literally go through victims’ trash cans and steal personal information. Don’t let this happen to you.
3. Pre-Approved Credit Card Application. I probably get about five pre-approved credit card applications a day, and I shred every single paper inside that envelope! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s getting blank checks with my bank account, name, and address stamped all over them either! These two documents can be incredibly dangerous. Don’t leave them on your counter to shred later, destroy them now!
4. Is One Shredder Better Then Another? Actually, YES! Simpler strip-cut shredders aren’t fool proof, it seems hard to imagine but those strips, potentially, could be put back together by someone determined enough. It’s recommended you use a cross-cut or confetti-cut machine that cuts the document into much smaller pieces.
5. Can I Do It Myself Or Do I Need It Done Professionally? The average individual can buy a simple yet effective shredder to handle their personal shredding needs. Most people are just trying to destroy old bank statements, cancelled checks, pay stubs, and old insurance forms. But companies often have a larger need for shredding services, and that’s when seeking a professional is typically the best idea. Hiring a professional and experienced company to do your shredding guarantees your confidential documents and data will be rendered unreadable. Companies like MicroShred can be scheduled for regular service, and are equipped to destroy not just documents but CD’s, microfiche, circuit boards and more. They also handle recycling of the destroyed data as well, so it’s handled properly at no additional concern of your own.
So next time you’re about to just toss that junk mail in the trash think twice, and shred.
Posted on October 25th, 2007 No comments
Shredding is an important part of any company’s daily routine. It’s important to destroy all confidential files, but what is the best way? Sometimes simple office shredding doesn’t do the job so a more professional approach is required. In these cases, you should seek a company who specializes in confidential file destruction.
Here are a few things you should be considering when it comes to shredding companies:
What’s the difference between on and off site shredding?
On-site shredding is considered the premium service that shredding companies offer. This method guarantees that you can physically see your confidential material being totally destroyed and not left to any prying eyes. Most companies will come by at predetermined routine times (such as once a week, every day, twice weekly….) and perform all document destruction on premises while you are free to watch. In most cases, the shredding company will provide you with a locked box that has a secure one-way slot to insert documents. This guarantees that they aren’t viewed by anyone in the mean time between dropping them in the box and having them destroyed.
Off-Site shredding is considered the economical alternative to on-site shredding. In this method, they also will leave you with the previously described locked box but instead of the contents being destroyed at your location, they are taken to the shredding company’s facility and destroyed there.
What method is better and why?
It mostly depends on what is more important to you- however on-site shredding is typically considered the better method. When you send your confidential files to be destroyed at another location, there is always a chance that someone might be looking at your information. Of course a professional company will take destroying your files very seriously, but as a business owner, you should be absolutely confident that your information is confidential.
What can be shredded?
Different companies are equipped to destroy different types of material. While some strictly shred paper documents, others offer much more extensive shredding services- Such as the destruction of motherboards, CD’s, microfilm, electronic equipment, uniforms, and much more. Some shredding services can also handle all the recycling of destroyed materials, so once you shred it, you don’t have to worry about where it goes. They will make sure it’s recycled properly! Companies like these are the best for your business because they will be able to handle any job you need! Never again will you have to worry about your confidential material!
MicroShred (http://www.microshred.com), a mobile high security shredding and recycling service in Southern California and Southern Florida. We provide a secure, convenient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly method to dispose of highly sensitive and confidential documents and other materials. Our mobile shredding units come to you and shred all sensitive material at your location, under your supervision.