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What to 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.


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