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What to Consider Before Scheduling Shredding Services

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

Shredding services are an essential aspect of information security, as they ensure that confidential information is not compromised.

According to our recent poll of almost 200 secure information professionals within our iG Direct E-Newsletter, we asked our members and subscribers, “which is the most important thing for clients to consider before scheduling a shredding service?”. While the most highly ranked answer of things to consider was on-site vs off-site shredding by 22.2% of respondents, all considerations below were closely ranked. Here is a look at ALL things to consider before you schedule your shredding service:

  • Types of Materials: Clients should be aware of the types of materials that can be shredded. Not all service providers accept all materials (some may not accept CDs, DVDs, or hard drives), but many accept more than you’d think! Consider bundling your assets to create a package deal with your provider.

    • Tip: Did you know that your fax machine and scanner have a hard drive? Look into your contract and talk with your vendor about your right to wipe your data before returning the machine at the end of your lease.

  • Confidentiality Agreements: Clients should consider the level of confidentiality offered by the shredding service, as well as whether or not the service requires clients to sign confidentiality agreements. This can help ensure that sensitive information is not compromised during the destruction process.

  • Certification: Clients should look for shredding services that are certified by a third-party industry organization that conducts unannounced audits and ensures the company is adhering to all necessary regulations. For data destruction, you will want to hire an organization that is NAID AAA Certified by i-SIGMA.

  • On-site vs Off-site Shredding: Clients should consider whether they want the shredding service to take place on-site, at their own facility via a mobile truck, or off-site, back at the service provider’s facility. On-site shredding can provide added security, as clients can witness the destruction of their sensitive information. Off-site shredding can be more convenient, as the shredding service may provide pick-up and delivery services.

  • Cost: While cost is always a consideration factor in the hiring of any business partner and clients should consider the cost of the shredding services being performed along with any storage needs, they should always weigh this against the liability of a data breach.

“If you have a data breach and the issue happened because of the service provider you chose, you’re still responsible – it’s your data,” cautions Kelly Martínez, CSDS, Executive Vice President of Marketing & Operations for i-SIGMA. “And when the investigation happens and you have to demonstrate why that vendor was chosen, there is no regulation in the world that will let you off the hook because you selected based on price over security.”

  • Frequency/Recurrence: Purge vs. ongoing service – Deciding how much materials your company has to destroy is an important factor when choosing which partner you will use for your services. Most companies will offer recurring services if desired, or one-time services if there is a large amount of materials accumulated that need to be destroyed. By continuing to have recurring services, this will be the most helpful to your business long term, as sensitive information won’t be sitting around your company for long periods of time.

Before scheduling a shredding service, clients should consider the types of materials that can be shredded, the level of confidentiality offered, the certification of the shredding service, the location of the shredding service, the cost, and the frequency/recurrence. By considering these factors, clients can make an informed decision and ensure that their sensitive information is securely destroyed.


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