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Winning At Compliance: 10 Methods of Ensuring Costly Information Breaches Don’t Happen to You

When you think of information security breaches, it might bring to mind hackers breaking into computers, stolen corporate laptops and cell phones that contain sensitive data, and accidental malware installation.

But the truth is, information breaches are not always electronic in nature. Did you know a large portion of information breaches comes down to companies not doing enough to properly destroy sensitive paperwork and possessing old hard drives containing confidential data? Security breaches are not only devastating to individuals, but also extremely costly for businesses. According to CIO Magazine, the average cost of a data breach in 2011 was $5.5 million. The article states that the most important category of that number stems from “lost business,” that includes “abnormal turnover of customers, increased customer acquisition activities, reputation losses, as well as diminished goodwill. 

One of the top causes of information breaches is due to improperly disposing of sensitive data. Did you know that a trash can is a goldmine for savvy identity thieves? It can’t be emphasized enough that throwing away or placing sensitive data in a recycling bin is the wrong way to get rid of paperwork. In order to be properly destroyed, the paperwork must be burned, shredded or pulverized so that it cannot be read or reconstructed.

Here are 10 ways to make sure information breaches don’t happen to you:

  • Determine where your company stores and holds sensitive data: on computers, laptops, flash drives, in physical file locations, etc.
  • Lock it up; if confidential information is stored on physical element—CDs, tapes, backups, paper, or hard drives—then keep them in a locked room or locked file cabinet
  • Keep only what you need: don’t keep confidential information on customers or employees unless you truly need it. If you can get rid of it, contact a professional shredding company who will safely and securely destroy the information. Make it a rule of thumb to shred all data you don’t store
  • Immediately report any breach, suspected or confirmed
  • Know your legal state laws and legal responsibilities for notifying affected parties
  • Conduct random audits and assessments to make sure processes are being followed
  • Hold periodic training sessions to review the organization’s security practices and rules
  • Require that your vendors follow their own security best practices and positive contribute to your security standards
  • Understand the many causes of privacy breaches: carelessness, ignorance, flawed policies and procedures and criminal behavior
  • Make locked shredding bins available throughout your office

Investing into proper data security will save you from costly fines, legal action, a PR nightmare, and customer distrust.

To get started with a shredding compliance program, contact Eagle Secure Shredding today at 770-619-5300.


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