Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions is a National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), AAA Certified Information Destruction Service Provider located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and offers Eastern Iowa’s professional community a secure, low-cost alternative for the destruction or storage of records and files that no longer need to be retained.
Advantage systematically and securely disposes of confidential or sensitive documents to prevent unauthorized access to the information they contain. Our processes involve the destruction of physical documents to a point where they cannot be reconstructed or accessed.
The purpose of secure document destruction is to protect sensitive information and maintain privacy. It is particularly important for organizations that handle personal, financial, or legally protected data, such as banks, healthcare providers, government agencies, and businesses that deal with customer information.
Advantage DS3 processes and procedures require that documents and materials are stored securely until they are ready for destruction. This includes locked containers and restricted access areas to prevent unauthorized access.
The documents are shredded using specialized equipment that ensures they are destroyed and rendered unreadable. After the documents have been shredded, a certificate of destruction is usually provided as proof that the documents have been securely and properly destroyed.
Advantage Document Scanning and Storage’s secure document destruction service provides organizations with the means to comply with data protection and privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It mitigates the risk of identity theft, fraud, and unauthorized access to sensitive information. Additionally, it promotes a culture of information security and ensures that confidential documents are properly managed throughout their lifecycle.
- What is NAID?
- What Does it Mean to be a NAID AAA Certified Information Destruction Provider?
- Evaluated Operations
- Reasons to Securely Destroy Your Documents
What is NAID?
The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) is a trade association that focuses on promoting secure information destruction practices. NAID is dedicated to setting industry standards, providing certification programs, and advocating for secure data destruction across various industries.
NAID’s primary objective is to ensure the secure disposal of sensitive information to prevent data breaches, identity theft, and unauthorized access to confidential data. They offer resources, guidelines, and best practices for organizations and professionals involved in information destruction.
They also develop and promote industry standards and best practices for information destruction. These standards cover a wide range of topics, including physical destruction, digital data sanitization, secure storage, and risk assessment. In addition, NAID actively engages in advocacy efforts to influence legislation and regulations related to information destruction. They work with government agencies, policymakers, and industry stakeholders to shape policies that address data protection and secure disposal practices.
NAID offers certification programs, such as the AAA certification granted to Advantage DS3, for service providers involved in information destruction. These programs include rigorous audits and assessments to ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices. By offering certification, education, advocacy, and industry standards, NAID plays a crucial role in promoting secure information destruction practices and raising awareness about the importance of information security.
What Does it Mean to be a NAID AAA Certified Information Destruction Provider?
The NAID AAA certification demonstrates that Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions has implemented robust security measures and adheres to industry best practices for secure information destruction. It provides customers with confidence that their sensitive information will be handled and destroyed in a manner that minimizes the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access.
The NAID AAA certification is a prestigious certification program offered by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). It is widely recognized as a symbol of excellence in the secure information destruction industry.
The NAID AAA certification is awarded to service providers who meet or exceed the stringent standards set by NAID for secure data destruction. To achieve this certification, companies undergo a comprehensive audit conducted by an independent, accredited security professional.
- Employee Screening: NAID assesses the background checks, drug testing, and employment practices of Advantage Document Scanning and Storage to ensure that our personnel handling sensitive information are trustworthy and reliable.
- Facility Security: The physical security measures of Advantage DS3’s facility have been examined to ensure that access to sensitive information is restricted and protected from unauthorized individuals.
- Destruction Equipment: NAID has evaluated the shredding equipment and processes used by Advantage Document Scanning and Storage for information destruction to ensure they meet industry standards for effectiveness and security.
- Operational Policies and Procedures: The certification process includes a review of Advantage’s policies and procedures related to information destruction, including chain of custody, data handling, and disposal methods, to ensure they align with best practices and compliance requirements.
- Audit and Compliance: NAID AAA certification includes periodic unannounced audits to ensure ongoing compliance with the certification standards. This helps ensure that, as a certified service provider, Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions consistently maintains high levels of security and quality.
NAID is the only consumer protection watchdog association that audits the qualifications of data destruction service providers worldwide, and Advantage DS3 is proud to be aligned with their organization. NAID not only helps educate consumers on the importance of document security but also equips them with a standard for evaluating document management service providers and understand why Advantage is uniquely qualified to be entrusted with their document shredding needs.
This NAID certification reflects Advantage’s competency and commitment to ensuring the security of our customer’s confidential materials throughout the document lifecycle, from transportation and storage to disposal service. NAID is a standard-setting body of experts in the information destruction industry who have established testing and auditing requirements for consumer protection. The program includes a comprehensive screening process and an audit system to verify all security protocols are in place, with an ongoing unannounced audit program to ensure compliance. A full list of the security specifications can be viewed online at the association’s website: https://isigmaonline.org/certifications/naid-aaa-certification/
Reasons to Securely Destroy Your Documents
Companies shred documents for various reasons, primarily to protect sensitive information and maintain data privacy. Here are some key reasons why companies engage in document shredding:
- Information Security: Shredding documents ensures that sensitive and confidential information cannot be accessed or retrieved by unauthorized individuals. This is particularly important for documents that contain personally identifiable information (PII), financial data, proprietary business information, trade secrets, or any other data that, if exposed, could pose a risk to the company or its stakeholders.
- Compliance with Data Protection Laws: Many industries are subject to data protection and privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the healthcare sector. Shredding documents helps companies comply with these regulations by securely disposing of personal or sensitive data.
- Risk Mitigation: By shredding documents, companies minimize the risk of identity theft, fraud, corporate espionage, or other malicious activities. Properly disposing of documents reduces the likelihood of confidential information falling into the wrong hands and being used for harmful purposes.
- Client and Customer Trust: Secure document shredding is crucial for maintaining the trust and confidence of clients, customers, and business partners. It demonstrates a commitment to protecting their sensitive information and can help preserve the company’s reputation.
- Document Lifecycle Management: Shredding documents is an integral part of an effective document lifecycle management strategy. It ensures that documents are disposed of securely and in a timely manner, preventing unauthorized access or retention beyond the required period.
Additional reasons to consider secure shredding options may relate to a company’s decision to transition to a digital workflow or scanning the documents for space savings or archival purposes. As companies increasingly digitize their operations, shredding physical documents may be part of the process to transition to a paperless environment. By securely disposing of paper documents, organizations can streamline workflows, enhance data accessibility, and reduce reliance on physical storage.
Shredding documents allows companies to clear physical clutter, reduce storage needs, and optimize office space. Instead of storing piles of outdated or unnecessary documents, shredding enables efficient use of space and facilitates better organization.
It’s important for companies to establish document retention policies and guidelines to determine which documents should be shredded and when. Engaging professional document shredding services can provide an extra layer of security and ensure compliance with best practices for document disposal.
What is a Document Retention Policy?
A document retention policy is a set of guidelines and procedures that outline how long different types of documents should be retained, how they should be stored, and when they should be disposed of. The policy helps organizations manage their documents throughout their lifecycle, from creation to final disposition. It ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, reduces legal risks, and facilitates efficient document management.
The policy specifies the length of time that each category of document should be retained. Retention periods may be determined based on legal requirements, industry standards, contractual obligations, or internal business needs. It also describes the methods and procedures for document disposal and destruction. This may include guidelines for shredding physical documents, deleting or purging digital files, or utilizing secure document destruction services. It should address the process of ensuring that sensitive information is properly destroyed and cannot be reconstructed or accessed by unauthorized individuals.
A well-designed document retention policy helps organizations maintain control over their information assets, promotes efficient document management, and mitigates legal and security risks associated with document retention and disposal.
What Should I Look For When Selecting a Secure Document Destruction Vendor
When selecting a secure document destruction vendor, it’s crucial to ensure that your sensitive information is handled and destroyed properly to maintain confidentiality and comply with data protection regulations. Here are some key factors to consider when evaluating a secure document destruction vendor:
- Compliance and Certifications: Verify that the vendor complies with relevant data protection and privacy regulations. At a minimum, the document destruction company should hold the NAID AAA (National Association for Information Destruction) certification. You may also want to look for alignments with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or ISO 9001 and ISO 27001, which demonstrate their commitment to industry best practices. Be aware of any specific requirements for the destruction of certain types of documents that your organization intends to dispose of at the end of their lifecycle. Request documentation that confirms the destruction of your documents, such as certificates of destruction or audit trails. These documents provide evidence that your documents were properly destroyed and can be crucial for demonstrating compliance during audits or legal proceedings.
- Secure Chain of Custody & Documentation: Ensure that the vendor maintains a secure chain of custody for your documents from collection to destruction. They should have documented procedures for document handling, transportation, and destruction, including measures to prevent unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information. After the shredding process is complete, reputable shredding companies provide a certificate of destruction as proof that the documents were properly destroyed. If you would like an example of the certificate of destruction used by Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions, we would be happy to provide you with one so you know what to look for when evaluating other shredding services. This certificate includes details such as the date, time, and method of destruction, providing an audit trail for compliance purposes.
- Document Destruction Methods: Understand the vendor’s document destruction methods and confirm that they meet your requirements. The processes and equipment employed should ensure the document’s complete and irreversible destruction, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or information leakage. Different shredding standards exist to ensure the highest level of security. Consider the environmental impact of shredding and disposal. Many shredding service providers like AdvantageDS3 offer recycling services to ensure that the shredded paper is properly recycled and implements environmentally friendly practices using eco-friendly disposal methods. If you have other media or electronic devices that require destruction, or records contained on microfilm or microfiche, confirm that the vendor can handle these materials securely and effectively.
- Equipment and Facilities: Inquire about the vendor’s shredding equipment and facilities. They should have modern, well-maintained shredding equipment capable of handling your document volume efficiently. If the destruction will take place at their facilities, ensure that their facilities are secure and equipped with surveillance systems, access controls, and other necessary security measures. If possible, consider visiting the facilities of the top contenders to assess their infrastructure, security measures, and overall professionalism.
- Employee Screening and Training: Ask about the vendor’s employee screening and training processes. They should conduct thorough background checks on their employees and provide training on data security, confidentiality, and proper handling of sensitive information. Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions has maintained comprehensive documentation of our policies, procedures, and practices, and would be happy to share them with you to help you establish your own evaluation criteria. The documentation outlines steps Advantage has taken to ensure all employees are insured and bonded, having completed a background check at the time of employment. It spells out specific policies like all our personnel are randomly drug tested and must assent to a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment.
- Service Options and Flexibility: Evaluate the vendor’s service options and flexibility to meet your specific needs. They should offer on-site or off-site destruction services, regular scheduled pickups, or on-demand services based on your document destruction requirements. Explore the services offered beyond document destruction. Highly qualified document destruction companies, including AdvantageDS3 provide a wide range of additional document related solutions that go above and beyond the standard shredding services. Look for a vendor that can manage the complete lifecycle of your document, and any foreseeable use cases related to them. This may include active file management, long term-off site storage, digital transformation, data archiving, archival microfilming, or secure vault storage.
- Insurance Coverage: Inquire about the company’s insurance coverage and liability policies. They should have appropriate liability insurance to cover any potential loss, damage, or data breaches that may occur during the document destruction process. Verify that they, like Advantage, are insured and bonded by several agencies that perform their own audits and reviews of their facility.
- Pricing and Contract Terms: While cost shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, compare pricing structures and ensure they align with your budget. Remember to consider the value and quality of services provided. Request a clear and transparent pricing structure that outlines the costs associated with document destruction services. Understand the contract terms, including any cancellation policies, service level agreements, and provisions for handling potential issues or errors.
- Reputation and References: Search for records management companies in Iowa through online directories, search engines, or industry associations. Make a list of potential companies and seek references from their existing clients. Request testimonials or case studies that demonstrate their track record in delivering secure document destruction services. A good document destruction company should be able to provide you with a long list of recognizable names that utilize their services that would be willing to share their experiences regarding reliability, security, customer service, and overall satisfaction.
It’s important to conduct thorough research and consider factors such as reputation, experience, services offered, compliance with regulations, security measures, customer support, and pricing. By considering these factors and conducting due diligence, you can select a secure document destruction vendor that meets your organization’s specific needs and ensures the proper disposal of your sensitive information.