When it comes to disposing of documents and paper, shredding and recycling is an incredibly secure process. For any organisation focused on ensuring that compliance is implemented when it comes to data protection - and that the most cost effective and convenient measures are in place - secure document shredding and recycling is the obvious choice.
How does secure shredding work?
The level of shredder security tends to be dictated by the type of shredder that you’re using and in particular the size and shape of the shreds that are produced by the machine. The least secure shredding option is strip cut shredding, which will essentially create long strips from the document being disposed of. These strips can often easily be put back together to recreate the document, which is why it’s not the best option for secure shredding - and not what you’ll get if you work with a secure shredding partner.
What standards of security exist?
Depending on your industry, there will be different standards and guidelines in place to determine what measures you need to take to ensure secure document destruction. In the UK there are two key scales that you can use to measure how secure a shredding process is:
- DIN66399 - a “P” scale is used to determine the level of shredding. For example, P-1 is 12mm strips of any length while P-7 is 5mm square particles. In the UK the standard that is used for the destruction of government documents, for example, is P-4 (160mm particles).
- EN15713 - this scale goes from level 1, which is under 5000 mm to level 6, which is 320mm squares.
Is it possible for shredded documents to be retrieved?
The short answer is: it depends on the shredder. If your documents are being shredded to one of the above British standards then it will be virtually impossible for anyone to reconstruct them in order to access the data in them. However, if you’re using a strip shredder, as mentioned above, then it will be a much easier process if someone wants to get access to data you thought you had destroyed.
What other considerations are there?
One of the most important considerations is what happens to the documents before they get to the point of shredding. This is often the point of most vulnerability because documents and paper can simply be left laying around and there may be no secure chain of custody in place. It’s vital to look at who handles all these documents before they are shredded and what kind of security measures are in place to protect them. For example, are they sitting in open trays and bins or are they inside lockable consoles until the shredding process can take place. Equally vital will be ensuring that you minimise the risks during transport, which is why on-site shredding is often a very popular choice.
As long as you’re working with the right shredding partner - and they have the most appropriate standards of shredding in place - shredding and recycling paper is a process that is super secure.