Why off-site shredding is more secure

Regulations surrounding data protection and privacy, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), mean that businesses have a duty to protect their sensitive information. By using a secure shredding service such as Changeworks Confidential, businesses can meet these regulations while ensuring both they and their customers are protected.

Most shredding services offer either on-site or off-site shredding – in this blog, we’ll explain the importance of shredding sensitive documents and explore the reasons why off-site shredding is the most secure method whilst also being more environmentally responsible.


Meeting legal obligations 

The introduction of GDPR stipulates that personal information must be kept safe while it’s required by the business and then securely destroyed when it is no longer needed.  

Businesses cannot hold on to information without reason and they also cannot throw it in the recycling bin as it is not secure, so they have two options; a professional security shredding service or shredding it themselves.

DIY shredding is not ideal for a number of reasons; firstly, it’s time intensive and can end up costing a company more in staff time than having a professional shredding service in place. Secondly, proving your compliance with GDPR can be difficult when you do it yourself as you won’t have a Certificate of Destruction. 

Finally, DIY shredding is less secure as it can be overlooked when other tasks take priority, and identity theft is a real risk for those who neglect to securely shred confidential data. It’s essential that you protect who your business relies on – your staff and customers. 


Consequences of failing to shred sensitive documents

If you neglect to shred the confidential documents your business produces, you could face a fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – this could be as high as 20 million euros or 4% of your worldwide annual turnover.

It could also harm your company in other ways – your reputation would take a real hit if any of your confidential documents were to fall into the wrong hands. Customers want to work with businesses they know prioritise their safety. 

There is also the risk that sensitive business information, such as price lists or contractual information, could fall into the hands of your competition – something that no company wants!


The difference between on-site and off-site shredding

On-site shredding is when a truck parks at your premises and takes your documents outside to be shredded right there and then. The operative will destroy all documents before issuing a handwritten Certificate of Destruction as proof of what was destroyed. 

Off-site shredding is where an operative will collect all your shredding bags in a secure vehicle and take them back to a secure facility where they will be professionally shredded in controlled conditions. Documents are shredded within a set timeframe, usually 24 working hours, and once shredded a Certificate of Destruction is issued.


Why offsite shredding is more secure

There is a debate over which type of shredding is more secure, on or off-site. Some people prefer one over another because that’s the way they’ve always done it or because one ‘feels’ more secure than the other. The reality is that off-site shredding is more secure, efficient and better for the environment.

On-site shredding is carried out in a temporary location - because of this, security cannot be as high as in a fixed, secured location. External factors such as weather, available parking and noise can also impact the service. The vehicle must sit, with the engine running, for the time it takes to shred all the material - this can lead to noise complaints and obviously means more carbon emissions.

On-site shredding requires a more expensive vehicle equipped with a mobile shredder; it takes more time on-site meaning fewer collections each day and more fuel is used as the engine is needed to power the shredder - because of these factors, on-site shredding is more expensive.

Off-site shredding is carried out in a completely controlled environment – this is the key to security. The vehicle is equipped with modifications such as tracking, reinforcement and immobilisers to ensure it is suitable to carry secure material. Even with these modifications, off-site vehicles are less expensive to run because they don’t contain shredding units, they use less fuel and can carry out more collections each day. Because of these efficiencies the service offered is more cost effective.


What happens to the materials after they leave your business?

The sealed bags of paper are transported in a secured vehicle back to our warehouse, where they are loaded into a secure holding area which is under constant CCTV surveillance. 

The bags are then fed into our shredder by a trained operative who has gone through the same rigorous background checks as the collection driver. 

Once the paper has been shredded is it mixed with other shredded paper before being baled and sent to a re-processor to be recycled. 

A document called a Certificate of Destruction is then emailed out stating the date and how many bags of paper were shredded. This document should be kept by the business as an audit trail for them to show that they have disposed of their out-of-date sensitive information correctly.


Choosing a secure provider

When looking for a company to take care of your confidential material it’s important to ensure that they are UK Security Shredding Association accredited.

UKSSA are the only UK-based association dedicated to security shredding operational standards, making their members stand out from the rest. We’ve been members of UKSSA for over 10 years.

We’re regularly audited and at each site audit we demonstrate that we comply with UKSSA’s stringent regulations, a few examples are; our staff must undergo rigorous, enhanced staff vetting, we must demonstrate our 24hr CCTV coverage by providing footage for a specific time and date requested by the auditor, and we must show our site is secure and the material is processed within 24 working hours.


Why we offer off-site shredding 

Before we began offering a security shredding service, we investigated the pros and cons of on-site v off-site shredding to help us decide what service to offer our customers.

It’s plain to see that while on-site shredding offers the illusion of increased security because of proximity to the act of shredding, off-site shredding is more secure as we are in total control of the shredding environment.

The decision we made was based on which is most secure - the fact that off-site shredding is greener and more cost effective is a bonus. That’s why we chose to offer an off-site service and why we think you should choose our service too.


Get in touch today for a solution to your secure shredding needs – our friendly team would love to have a chat about your business needs.