Why on-site shredding is more secure
On-site and off-site shredding is now used by tens of thousands of UK organisations but on-site is arguably more secure because it removes some risk that may exist depending on your vendor and their operation.
The benefits of on-site shredding
On-site shredding involves a security officer removing your material in sealed bags and loading them straight in to the shredding vehicle parked outside. Material is placed in a vehicle with the security officer who locks himself in with your material behind a security screen. The material is weighed and emptied in to a hopper which feeds your material in to a shredder immediately. The security officer then walks back in to your office with a Certificate of Destruction before driving off with shredded material (16mm down to 2mm).
No chance of anyone seeing it, getting hold of it or photographing it.
The chain of custody ends immediately because the material is destroyed.
Contrast with off-site shredding
With off-site shredding, a security van arrives and a security officer collects your material before driving away to other locations with your material in transit.
What happens in the unlikely event of the vehicle being involved in an accident or being broken in to – there is a chance the material can be accessed? It is still the legal responsibility of the owner of the material until it has been destroyed.
Some vendors are more interested in handling and sorting paper (white, coloured, newspaper) because they earn revenue from ‘waste’ paper. To them, paper is a commodity. Do you want your material handled and hand-sorted?
Questions to ask internally?
- Who handles our secure material – are they a waste firm who sell the paper or are they a security shredding firm who shred all paper and have no financial interest in paper as a by-product?
- Does our vendor sort and handle paper before shredding somewhere off-site?
- How quickly is our material shredded – same day 100% of the time?
- How many stops do vans make before our material is destroyed beyond use?
There are differences between paper recyclers who shred, waste managers who collect for shredding and specialist shredding firms who collect paper, hard drives and Dry Mixed Waste and shred all paper and hard drives. Some vendors are waste managers. Some firms are security services focussed on shredding.
Today, it is not uncommon for organisations to have a shred-all policy – all paper is deposited in to locked consoles or bags and everything is shredded and recycled.
Good vendors will offer you a choice between on-site or off-site shredding. What you choose shouldn’t come down to cost. It should be a security and site access and location decision as to what service you opt for. On-site, by its nature, is faster and more secure.
About the author
Dan Hawtin is Managing Director of The Shredding Alliance – a secure shredding service to BS EN 15713, accredited to ISO 9001. Every year, over 7,500 Public, Private and Central Government customers have their paper and hard drive material shredded. Collectively they recycle over 40,000 tonnes of paper, off-set over 50,000 tonnes of carbon and save over 650,000 trees.