Posted on March 17th, 2009 No comments
A recent survey reveals that while corporations are spending more money in an effort to safeguard personal information, many corporate leaders say they are unfamiliar with key federal and state laws governing information privacy.
The survey, conducted on behalf of Boston-based Iron Mountain, targeted companies with annual revenue of at least $750 million. The survey polled 115 business professionals involved in or responsible for information privacy at publicly held companies.
According to the survey’s findings, companies believe they’re more familiar with federal requirements for information destruction than they actually are. While nearly three in four respondents (74 percent) express familiarity with federal requirements, fewer than one in three (30 percent) are aware of the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) Disposal Rule. The FACTA Disposal Rule mandates that organizations properly dispose of documents containing consumer information through methods such as burning, pulverizing or shredding so that the “information cannot practically be read or reconstructed.”
The survey also reveals that nine in 10 companies outsource their shredding, while more than half (57 percent) also rely on on-site commercial-grade shredding or incineration equipment. But fewer than one in four report compliant destruction of consumer information (24 percent) or audit-compliant policies and procedures (23 percent) based on best industry practices.
Two in three companies (66 percent) say it has become more important to formalize policies and procedures for destroying sensitive information. Those companies cited new laws (63 percent), negative press of data losses (43 percent), customer demand for information security (29 percent) and pressure from industry groups (28 percent) as the top reasons why.
Posted on September 4th, 2008 No comments
All businesses have occasion to discard confidential data. Customers lists, price lists, sales statistics, drafts of bids and correspondence, and even memos, contain information about business activity which would interest any competitor. Every business is also entrusted with information that must be kept private. Employees and customers have the legal right to have this data protected.
Without the proper safeguards, information ends up in the dumpster where it is readily, and legally, available to anybody. The trash is considered by business espionage professionals as the single most available source of competitive and private information from the average business. Any establishment that discards private and proprietary data without the benefit of destruction, exposes itself to the risk of criminal and civil prosecution, as well as the costly loss of business.
Posted on July 16th, 2008 No comments
PLASTIC wheelie bins full of confidential documents were left outside Rozelle Hospital in a last-minute rush to move the hospital to its new site at Concord.
Staff records, including details of criminal convictions and personal medical histories, were jammed into the bins along with minutes of meetings and disciplinary proceedings.
A letter lying at the top of one of the bins details an altercation in January 1991 between a cleaner and his supervisor, who had asked him to clean some windows.
“Mr A [name deleted] … threw a garbage tin of rubbish on the ground and also said he would kill Mr S … [name deleted],” an exasperated manager notes.
Other documents detail the property staff members have failed to return over decades.
Records from the Child Support Agency detailing maintenance deductions the hospital was required to make for individual employees are also included in the thousand of pages of personal documents.
Anyone wandering through the open hospital grounds, popular with dog walkers, was free to leaf through decades of documents left in the driveway of the administrative and information building, which closed its doors at the site last week.
Half a dozen wheelie bins left in the driveway of the administration block were locked but six others were open or secured only with adhesive tape applied by desperate staff members unable to get enough bins to secure documents they knew to be confidential. Two of those bins carried notes headed “Confidential documents”.
The notes, written by a staff doctor, Graeme Halliday, said: “To Whom It May Concern, Ive been requesting confidential paper bins for at least a week before the hospital closed but could not get any. Transport kindly delivered these on Thursday May 1st, but I didnt realise until I had filled them – they are in fact not for the disposal of confidential documents. Quite happy to return to help transfer these to confidential bins if someone can help me obtain these.”
Yesterday Dr Halliday was furious the bins had been left outside the building and said he had done his best to ensure their contents were properly disposed of.
He said he had worked until midnight on Saturday trying to dispose of documents he had no time to finish packing as he had had a full patient load during preparations for the move.
He had left all the bins locked inside the building on Saturday night and was uncertain who had moved them outside.
Dr Halliday drove immediately to Rozelle Hospital when he heard the documents were outside to ensure they were secured.
In other parts of the hospital grounds staff record cards spilled from torn plastic bags before a compactor truck arrived yesterday afternoon.
The director of mental health for the Sydney South West Area Health Service, Dr Victor Storm, said only two normal bins had been used for confidential waste. The bins had been put outside by accident yesterday morning.
“Both the secure and general waste bins have since been locked away, and a collection is now expected later this week.”
Posted on June 17th, 2008 No comments
Identity theft continues to be an increasing crime, and a free seminar is designed to help you avoid being the next victim.
The seminar, called “Stop Identity Theft,” will be Thursday morning at the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum.
A document shredding service will be available in conjunction with the seminar.
The seminar is presented by the Better Business Bureau of the Shoals, Listerhill Credit Union and University of North Alabama Small Business Development Center.
Christy Yeiser, regional vice president over the bureau in the Shoals, said each person can bring up to two bags or boxes of documents, checkbooks and files that have sensitive information. Those will be shredded by a professional shredding company in the area. She said it is not necessary to remove staples and paper clips.
You can go through the line more than once, if you have additional items.
Paul Davis, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission, will conduct a seminar from 9-11 a.m.
Registration for the seminar begins at 8:30 a.m. Those who register will receive information on detecting and preventing identification theft. Refreshments and door prizes also will be available.
Yeiser said there were more than 8.1 million cases of ID theft nationwide in 2007. That resulted in some $45 billion in losses.
“Over half of that was traced to some type of paper trail,” Yeiser said.
That includes items that could be taken from your mailbox or garbage, or even from your own possession, she said.
“Only one-third of ID thefts occurred online or through some other electronic means,” Yeiser said.
“It is extremely important for businesses to safely destroy personal information of their customers and employees and it is equally important for all residents to shred their sensitive documents.”
She said identity theft can result in a long nightmare of problems, depending on how much damage the thief did with your identification, and how many places he or she purchased items from while using your identification.
Posted on May 2nd, 2008 No comments
LONDON (Reuters) – Financial services companies must change their attitude to security to curb the rise in identity fraud, the Financial Services Authority says.
The FSA issued the warning following a review of data security systems and controls at 39 firms including banks, building societies, insurance companies and financial advisers.
Although it found examples of good practice across the industry, it said firms underestimated the risk of data loss and fraud to their businesses — especially to their customers.
One company has been referred to the FSA’s enforcement division.
The call comes just days after Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said companies and government departments had suffered an “inexcusable number” of security breaches since the loss of millions of personal details last year.
Thomas said he had been told of 94 data breaches since November, with two-thirds from the public sector and the rest from the private sector. Half of the commercial breaches were from financial institutions.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered an urgent review after HM Revenue and Customs said it had lost data on 25 million people, exposing them to the risk of identity theft and fraud.
The FSA said that, on occasions of significant data loss, firms seemed more concerned about adverse media coverage than on being open and transparent with their customers.
Speaking at the body’s annual conference on financial crime, Philip Robinson, its director of financial crime and intelligence, said: “It is worrying that, despite increased public awareness of the impact that identity theft can have on customers, many firms are still not taking this risk seriously.
“Customers have a right to be confident that firms are doing everything reasonably possible to keep their personal and financial details safe.”
Posted on April 18th, 2008 2 comments
There are plenty of common-sense things you can do to curb your risk of identity theft : shred personal documents, guard your Social Security number, and monitor your credit report. But if you really want to roll out the big guns, put a security freeze on your credit file.
A freeze bars anyone from having access to your credit report and credit score without your permission, which means identity thieves will have a tough time opening an account in your name—even if they know your name, date of birth, and Social Security number. That’s because lenders generally won’t issue new credit without first seeing a credit report.
To put a freeze on your file, you’ll have to send a certified letter to each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. In most states, the service is free for identity-theft victims who provide a police report. Otherwise, you’ll pay about $10 at each credit bureau, unless your state mandates a lower fee.
Freezes don’t make sense for everyone, especially young people with a short credit history. The same goes if you’re shopping for a mortgage, auto loan, insurance, or a new credit card. That’s because you’ll have to temporarily lift the freeze using a pin code each time you apply for a new line of credit. (Companies you already do business with can still access your report.) You may also need to suspend the freeze to get an apartment, utility service, or a job that requires a background check.
Suspending your credit file freeze isn’t cheap. You’ll typically pay another $10 a pop, and the process can take up to 10 business days. To check fees in your state and get instructions on how to place a credit freeze, go to consumersunion.org/securityfreeze.htm.
If you live in South Florida, call MicroShred 1.866.GO.SHRED (1.866.467.4733) and we will come to your home or work and make sure that your identity stays your identity. We use responsible, bonded service personnel to handle your confidential data. All material is shredded on-site, where you can watch if you wish. Shredding is done inside our trucks with state-of-the-art “shear shredders” that for total security, render material impossible to reconstruct. Shredded material is automatically compacted and transported to paper recycling facilities.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A SHREDDING SERVICE?
Convenience – Your company avoids the responsibility, expense, and clutter of buying, maintaining, and operating your own shredding equipment. Our service can be personalized to fit your company’s needs. Whether you need a document shredding service on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis – you tell us how often, we’ll be there.
Affordable cost – Utilizing a shredding service is only pennies per pound. Charges are by the frequency that the containers are serviced or by the time the service takes, whichever method is more cost effective you.
Free Storage Containers – We provide free locked security containers which are individually keyed for each client. They are equiped with a one-way slot to conveniently store and secure documents designated for shredding. Our personnel empties the containers, destroys the content in our commercial shredding trucks at your location, and takes the shredded paper to be recycled. No sorting is necessary.
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.