Why you should shred sensitive documents

Despite living in the age of the Internet, many individuals and businesses still need to store sensitive information in its physical paper form. From tax returns to bank statements, credit card information to sales receipts, confidential paperwork builds up over time. These documents need to be disposed of securely when they are no longer needed.

Even if your files have been in storage for years and are no longer accurate or relevant to you or your business, there is still a significant risk of a data breach if they are disposed of improperly. Read on to see why shredding your confidential documents should be a top priority for any responsible person or company.

It prevents identity theft

As online data security becomes increasingly sophisticated, so too does the appeal of sensitive paper documentation to identity thieves. Any document that contains personal information can be used by criminals to steal your identity, and having such information on paper allows criminals to bypass the complexities of online security systems.

Credit card details, telephone numbers and home addresses are all prized by identity thieves, who can easily find this information by rummaging through carelessly disposed of rubbish. However, it is virtually impossible to decipher sensitive files once they have been shredded using high-grade shredders.

The average shredder (known as strip-cut shredders) are often not adequate when it comes to confidential documents – only certain types of shredding ensures that the shredded document cannot be reassembled. Alternatively, if you’re not about to go and buy a CIA-ready shredder for your home, you might want to consider using a professional shredding service with industrial-grade shredders and pulverisers.

It saves time

One of the most precious things to both individuals and companies alike is time. It often feels like there are not enough hours in the day to complete everything you had intended to do. Why not let someone else take on the burden of responsibility when disposing of your confidential documents?

Employing the services of a professional shredding company will save you valuable time, effort and money. This allows you to focus more of your time and resources on the things that really matter, such as the growth and profitability of your company.

It’s sustainable

Shredding your sensitive documents is the best way to dispose of confidential material, but it’s also environmentally friendly. Shredded paperwork is perfect for recycling and can be easily bagged up and disposed of.

Many companies offering document-shredding services recycle 100% of the waste they collect, which prevents it from going to landfill and polluting the environment. Such environmental concerns should be a matter of priority for the modern business owner, and implementing sustainable practices will likely reduce the overhead costs of running a business too!

It’s legally compliant

All businesses are duty-bound to keep client information secure by law. Governments all over the world are tightening up regulations regarding information privacy and protection, as well as enforcing strict penalties on any companies that fail to comply with security standards. Perhaps the most notable example is the recent GDPR.

Complying with data protection laws will not only prevent any reputation-damaging legal problems, but also give you and your customers’ peace of mind – you can’t put a price on that!

It saves space

Whether your documents are piling up at your home, your office or in a storage facility, any space taken up by useless files is space wasted. It’s inhibitive, impractical and often a terrible eyesore. Free up some room by shredding the unnecessary documents that have been cluttering up your already limited living, working and storage spaces. After all, it’s never too late for a bit of spring cleaning!

If you think that you or your company could benefit from a document shredding service that is safe and sustainable, please get in touch with one of our friendly storage consultants for a quote. More information on our various shredding services can also be found here.

Which industries need secure document storage the most?

The GDPR regulations have been time consuming, but every business understands that there’s very good reason for enforcing them. In order to be considered credible and trustworthy, customers and businesses need to know and ensure that any data they process is done so respectfully and responsibly, in compliance with data protection laws.

Sadly, the proof isn’t in the pudding. It’s in paper documents. Even today, in the digital age, electronic files aren’t always trusted as much as physical files. Indeed, there are numerous financial and legal situations where in order to be considered valid proof, documents must be presented in paper form. Electronic copies rarely constitute sufficient proof in legal contexts.

Even the tidiest and most organised amongst us find piles of paper difficult to work with, especially when you’re trying to track down an insignificant receipt from 2003. As well as this, when it comes to confidential and sensitive information, serious security measures are required. Such measures often take up time, money and space. What’s a business to do?

Enter: secure and efficient document storage providers…

These providers – with Flexible Storage being one of the most trusted storage firms in London – specialise in and take care of the above problems for you. No matter what industry you work in, no matter the nature of your business, no matter your particular role within a company may be, it’s likely that you will gain access to personal information at some point. Maybe, just maybe, secure document storage is just the kind of service you need. Here are seven industries that, due to the type of data involved in their operation, need services like ours the most.

Legal

Contracts and other classified legal documentation are the bread and butter of organisations dealing in legal matters. To be considered valid documentation, hard copies of house deeds, birth certificates, signed contracts, and wills are required. Those working in legal firms will likely be reading this while having flashbacks of bustling filing cabinets and endless papercuts.

In order to win cases for defendants or advise and protect clients, lawyers need to pay close attention to these documents. The authority and respect given to the justice system and legal firms would be in serious jeopardy if they’re found non-compliant with data protection and human rights laws. While they are in their possession, they’d be wise to keep these documents secure and well-managed whilst never dealing with individuals and organisations without the same standards of security. If evidence is not legally sourced, it won’t be accepted in court.

Insurance

In order to evaluate ‘risk and exposure’, insurance brokers are momentarily privy to a lot of personal information and confidential documentation. Who you are, where you live, what you do (and how often), how much you earn – the list of sensitive details goes on. Most people are not comfortable disclosing such information to people they’ve just met (or perhaps never met!). Indeed, they only do so when confident that their personal data is respected and secured.

Once policies are written and paid for, legal and regulatory requirements come into play when a claim is raised. This is when the big wigs will refer back to these trusty documents – if anyone is able to track them down, that is… Flexible Storage offer long-term secure document storage, alongside management systems that make individual files locatable in an instant.

Finance

To provide a valuable service, financial advisors need data, and lots of it. They need to know about client assets, current economic climate and legal legislation. Think mortgages, loan applications, budgets and bank statements. All of which are private and personal. Information like this usually needs to be retained for defined periods, making it necessary for financial firms to devise a secure storage solution.

Storing documents in a company office is one option, but not one without its drawbacks. Outsourcing your document storage will not just give you peace of mind – its also cost-effective, super-efficient, and ultra-secure. If you work in finance and you’ve found yourself involuntarily nodding your head while reading this, read more about our external storage options here.

Accountancy

The accounting industry revolves around financial records (or accounts). Today, it is one of the leading business sectors globally and considered the ‘language of business’ by some. Accounting firms deal with bank statements, credit ratings, loan applications, interest rates and more general personal client data for security purposes. If any numbers don’t add up or queries are raised during financial audits, the company accounts team will have a lot to answer for.

If you have a good accountant, they’ll be paying close attention to when and where you spend your money. Whilst dealing with this information you’d like it to be respected and secured by both your account and the auditors, right? As businesses, banks make money via the interest gained from the loans they provide. And as businesses, it’s not in their best interest to lend to individuals or organisations unlikely to be able to pay back the full loan. Before granting a loan, underwriters carry out detailed credit analyses of prospective borrowers. This process is partially reliant on a secure document storage and management system being in place.

Healthcare

Medical records are extensive and, unlike most industry records, they can make the difference between life and death. Medical professionals need reliable access to patient records and patients need to know their records won’t remain in the hands of go-betweens like receptionists and pharmacists. In cases of legal action and insurance claims, the ability to produce doctor’s notes, as well as individual and organisational licensing certification, is essential. As such, external document storage is a secure and efficient solution in medical industries.

Construction

Blueprints, plans, legal documentation, permits, invoices, and payroll. In order to gain planning permission, workers in this industry will also need approval from local authorities and property owners. Where disputes arise, it is necessary to refer to documents like house deeds, signed contracts and wills. All of these are specialised documents that are only valid when created by professionals. Although the first two could be recreated, this would be expensive as a result of the time and expertise required. Buildings and sites change over time, as do the people who own them. If deeds, permits, invoices and plans are lost, people won’t know who is responsible for what and what was agreed when.

Does your company need secure document storage?

All of these industries need secure data storage services due to the amount of confidential records they generate. Due to limited resources, facilities and experience, most in-house archives are prone to security risks (from both a privacy and physical safety point of view) and management issues. They’re better stored off-site, in a designated space where they’re guaranteed to be secure and tracked. At Flexible Storage, ‘security’ amounts to fireproof and water resistant document storage. It means thick steel units with high security hardened steel locks. And because your team doesn’t have the time or headspace to navigate around all of these each time they need the files, our trained and vetted staff will do this for you!

Whether your company requires high or low security document storage of a single archive box or tens of thousands of archive units, our document storage services allow you to focus on your business in a clutter free efficient office. For help on how to choose the right document storage for your business, get in touch.

Benefits of self-storage for gap year students

Embarking on a gap year should be one of the most exciting times in a student’s life but the stress of preparing for it can often be overwhelming. Months of accumulated study materials and belongings quickly build up and pose a big problem when the time comes to move on. The solution may not be as simple as leaving your belongings in a friend’s flat or moving them back to your parents’ house as you might have done over the summer break. A year is a long time for your parents or friends to store your worldly possessions and the cost of shipping them back across the country can often be exorbitant.

Self-storage is the best solution for many students planning a gap year, as it is both flexible and affordable. It offers the safest and most flexible alternative to transporting your belongings to friends and relatives in far-flung parts of the country.  If you are keen to explore how self-storage can provide maximum convenience while you traverse the globe, this article will outline the specific benefits of using self-storage as a gap year student.

Cost effective

Studying at university can be a testing time for many students, not least when it comes to money. The added financial pressures of a gap year can often exacerbate this problem, which is why it is so important to manage your belongings affordably. When you consider the costs of shipping all of your personal items, the stress of moving everything back home and the inconvenience of burdening friends and family with clutter, self-storage is often the most cost-effective solution. Splitting the cost of a storage unit with friends or housemates can further reduce the cost of storing your stuff, especially if you and a friend are travelling together.

Flexibility and accessibility

Gap years come in all shapes and sizes, which means the storage demands of each individual are different. Whether you plan on volunteering overseas for the full year or you intend to travel intermittently, gap year self-storage can always cater to your time requirements. Most storage companies are flexible when it comes to storage length, with many offering longer term storage discounts. As well as flexibility, self-storage offers maximum accessibility with 24-hour access so your belongings can be accessed at any time.          

Maximum security

Traveling for months on end can be a long time for your personal items to sit in storage. No student wants to return from a trip of a lifetime to find that all of their expensive textbooks have got damp in their parent’s loft. Self-storage offers water and fireproof units so you can rest assured that your items are in the safest possible hands.

Likewise, leaving your possessions in the care of university friends also poses its own security concerns. Most students tend to live in shared accommodation with many people coming and going at any given time. This might be great for the social scene but the security and privacy of your belongings may worry you while you’re away. Self-storage helps to put your mind at ease, as you can be sure your items are securely locked in containers under 24-hour CCTV surveillance.     

No burden

Choosing to use self-storage as a gap year student means that you no longer have to clutter your parents’ house. This is not only great for familial harmony but it’s also ideal for students whose parents have opted to downsize or convert their old room into something more useful. It also helps you avoid the expense of paying rent for a flat or room you are not even using.

When you’re spending your gap year having the time of your life, the last thing you want to feel like is that you’re burdening a friend or relative in the process. Self-storage allows students to travel with peace of mind knowing their items are safe, secured and not going to cost them a fortune.   

If you’re in the midst of planning a gap year and would like to know more about self-storage options, please get in touch with one of our professional storage consultants to learn more about our self-storage services and receive a tailored quote.