Many businesses have converted to paperless offices. There are many reasons for this shift, but the move is well justified. Some reasons include:
- Space: Each gigabyte of storage can hold about 680,000 pages of text and data storage capacity doubles about every two years.
- Cost: As some computer engineers explain it, electrons are cheaper than trees.
- Eco-friendly: Paper documents are not considered sustainable since they deplete natural resources.
However, there are some circumstances in which paper documents are preferred over electronic documents. Unfortunately, those circumstances often involve those situations where the paper documents need to be destroyed after use.
For example, paper documents may be used to avoid computer hacking, to establish a paper trail, or specifically because paper can be destroyed while electronic documents usually leave a digital fingerprint. These are exactly the times when secure paper shredders are needed. In fact, leaders from 300 companies list security of company records among the top five issues facing businesses.
Here are five reasons paperless offices still need high security paper shredders:
Some devices, such as fax machines, still produce printed documents or require a document to be printed to be transmitted. After these documents are reviewed, a high security paper shredder may be needed to destroy the printed document, particularly if the document contains sensitive or confidential information.
Similarly, there will be circumstances where it may be necessary to print out emails or email attachments, draft documents, interim spreadsheets, or other electronic documents for circulation and review. After comments are received, it may be necessary to destroy the drafts including the comments using high security shredders to avoid them falling into the wrong hands.
Some outside advisers, such as attorneys, accountants, financial institutions, and medical doctors, correspond in writing so they can maintain a paper trail. As an example, insurance companies, personal injury attorneys, and pharmacies all have access to patient medical records. Often, these medical records are received in paper.
Your business, on the other hand, may not want to maintain a physical paper trail. You may want to scan the documents and maintain the records electronically while destroying the paper copies. Or you may prefer to destroy the physical document and rely on your memory after reading the printed correspondence. In either case, a high security paper shredder may be needed to ensure that the document cannot be reconstructed by anyone who might want to find out what your outside advisers are telling you.
Bank and Tax Records
Banks and the IRS are obsessed with paper. Again, this is usually so that they can establish a paper trail of records. This is burdensome and risky for your business. There are few records more sensitive than your financial and tax records. Aside from listing your assets, revenues, and liabilities, these records can contain your Tax Identification Number (TIN or EIN), your address, and your business name — everything needed to steal your business's identity.
Even though many of these records, such as 1099 forms, are provided on paper, the IRS does allow your business to retain electronic records rather than paper records. Thus, after your business has completed its tax filings, you are allowed to scan documents and destroy the paper versions using a high security paper shredder.
Every business engages in confidential communication with others. For example, offers of employment, contract negotiations, correspondence with customers and vendors, sales projections, and other internal documents can all contain details that are not public. However, for various reasons, hard copies of these documents may be produced, at least temporarily. Once these documents have served their purpose, your most prudent course of action may be to use a high security paper shredder to destroy them.
Your business has to retain records for payroll and immigration purposes. For example, photocopies of social security cards, drivers licenses, and green cards and worker visas often exist in employee files. Some companies even retain paper copies of W-2 documents and other tax forms. These records are ripe for identity theft in the wrong hands and should be destroyed using a high security paper shredder after being scanned.
Even in the age of paperless offices, high security paper shredders are essential to the document security of businesses.