Business owners are far more aware of the cyber threats they can face within their businesses. However, some still neglect the good old paper document information, don’t treat is as confidenatil waste and dispose it as part of cardboard recycling which is a mistake. The paper waste lying around your business could cause serious harm to your business if any confidential information contained on them got into the wrong hands and that includes just throwing all of it in the recycling bin without document shredding. You could face hefty fines under the Data Protection Act as well as losing your reputation. This in-depth article will discuss why confidential waste disposal is so essential for your business to consider.
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What Laws Uphold Confidential Waste Disposal in the UK?
Confidential papers being leaked has been a problem for centuries. Others could use any sensitive information written down in negative ways. That is why the UK has a few different laws and regulations to enforce businesses to take care of their sensitive documents and partake in media destruction and confidential waste disposal (and we can help you with that!). Let’s take a look at these laws and regulations maintained by The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promote data privacy and fine businesses and government bodies who breach the rules.
Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
This legislation is the fundamental law that upholds confidential information security and the disposing of sensitive documents. It is actually based on a European regulation that was designed to protect individuals’ data. Still, it was expanded on to suit big businesses as well. The most important element of the Data Protection Act is that any confidential data collected can only be used for particular circumstances listed in the company contract. This means that confidential data isn’t allowed to be given to any third parties without the person’s consent. There is also a national association for information destruction to help keep the procedures in place.
The DPA has different principles listed and one of which states:
“Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.”
Businesses have to keep this in mind when trying to meet the appropriate security requirements for confidential data. You should consider:
- Putting in place different policies and procedures in which all staff are trained (such as secure storage systems, a special waste media destruction recycling bin to be given over to confidential data shredding service providers).
- The harm that could occur if your data is damaged, lost, or stolen.
- The nature of the information being protected.
- The reliability of your employees who take care of any sensitive documents.
- Preparation of what to do if any security breaches occur.
Data Protection Bill
This is a different law from the DPA. Data Protection Bill was implemented in 2018 to update other data protection legislation, mainly to protect digital data. Although this doesn’t quite relate to confidential waste disposal in the physical form, it is equally essential for your business to consider disposing of sensitive electronic waste as well.
General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)
This law is a relatively new law enacted by the European Union in 2018, almost replacing DPA. After Brexit UK has decided to keep GDPR rules in place with minor adjustments. UK GDPR is important for confidential waste disposal because many companies will need to review and make changes to their current document destruction and retention policies to line up better with the new law. After this has been accomplished, your old confidential papers will need to be disposed of so they do not confuse your employees, so confidential waste disposal will be necessary.
Some changes that will be implemented from the DPA are:
- The fines will increase, and a two-tiered system will be introduced depending on the severity of the security breaches.
- Companies will have to justify, document, and evidence all their decisions to collect sensitive information to have stronger accountability.
- Individuals in a business will be given complete control over their personal information being used, such as their right to be informed, document destruction, restricting processing, accessing the confidential data as they please, updating data, and objecting against the use of their data for certain activities.
- The processing of personal information within businesses needs to be more concise, easily accessible, free of charge, and completely transparent.
- It needs to include privacy notices on the confidential papers.
- A supervisor of any sensitive information must report any security breaches to all in the business within 72 hours.
- Compulsory registration requirements to The Information Commissioner’s Office will no longer be in effect.
- Internal reporting procedures, investigations, and data breach detections should be more rigorous than previously.
What Could Thieves Do With My Data?
Suppose your business’s confidential papers got into the wrong hands. In that case, it could have some severe implications for you and any employees in your business, which includes:
- They could pose as you to defraud your customers (an even more significant threat if the paperwork has any bank or card details).
- They could sell the information about your business to your competitors.
- If passwords are on any paperwork, they could gain access to your online systems and lead to online data theft.
- They could discover when your business premises are empty if they have staff rotas and shifts, leading to physical theft on the property.
What Are The Types of Confidential Waste?
So, after all this information, perhaps you are wondering what counts as confidential waste:
Staff Records – these could contain names, phone numbers, addresses, national insurance numbers, and bank details.
Customer Records – this could include letters and receipts as well. Still, these can all include names, addresses, phone numbers, bank details, and other personal information.
Reports – thieves could identify individual customers or members of staff, and details on the information could contain job titles, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and pay grades.
Rotas – like previously mentioned, details could be found about the movements of staff in your business which could be a risk for them or a risk for theft on your property.
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What Documents Should I Dispose of as Confidential Waste?
Above are the common types of confidential information, but here is a more comprehensive list of all the different physical copies of sensitive information that should be disposed of appropriately following the laws for confidential waste disposal.
- IDs or access cards
- Appraisals and reviews
- Absence and sickness information
- Disciplinary reports
- Customer contact details
- Printed emails or other correspondence
- Photo ID documents
- Any other documents containing personal information
- Tax returns
- Budgeting documents
- Sales receipts
- Bank statements
- Payroll information
- Voided cheques
- Supplier information
- Company structure documents
- Pricing lists
You need to dispose of confidential documents in your business and though the main ones are listed above, there may be others related to your particular business that could also need confidential waste disposal services. Still, the lists above are the minimum requirements set out by the UK data protection laws and regulations.
Is There Any Information That Shouldn’t Be Shredded?
Although the disposal of confidential documents is important, there are some items that do not need to be disposed of securely, and there are some cases in which shredding your documents should never occur, such as:
- Divorce papers
- Marriage certificates
- Marriage licenses
- Death certificates
- Birth certificates
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Reasons To Invest in Confidential Waste Disposal
Despite the laws and regulations in place, which mean you should be disposing of your confidential waste appropriately, what other benefits are there to confidential waste disposal? And why should it be outsourced?
Paper shredding can be a surprisingly costly thing for businesses. Paper shredding machines for confidential documents can be expensive and time-consuming for staff to partake in when they have other duties to perform. Maintenance for shredding machines is also required quite often, which also costs quite a lot of money – running the engines for extended periods will also up your electricity bills each month. These are reasons that outsourcing your confidential waste disposal to other service providers can reduce your costs and increase productivity in your business.
So much waste ends up in landfills every year. But Inspire Waste Management collects your confidential waste to shred, and then the shredded documents are then recycled into other paper-based products. Did you know that 49% of the UK’s annual waste recycling comes from secure, confidential waste disposal facilities? Imagine all that in the landfill. It’s a win-win situation for you to recycle your confidential waste (we ensure all confidential waste is recycled once it’s been shredded). So you would be playing a big part in protecting the environment.
Identity Theft Protection
As previously stated, identity theft is on the rise. It can be a serious problem for businesses that don’t correctly partake in confidential waste disposal. By securing your waste, you’re following the laws and regulations as well as protecting your business and the people involved in your business, which includes your clients and employees. Your confidential waste will be collected, shredded, and recycled in a closed-loop, so there will be no trace of your personal information.
From the last point, any security breaches in your business put your employees and customers at risk and violate their privacy. The data breach may only cause a slight inconvenience, or it may result in much more severe consequences, potentially leaving the people you are responsible for emotionally distressed and with money lost or identities taken.
By outsourcing your confidential waste disposal needs, you are freeing up your time but still giving your clients peace of mind that their confidential information is in safe hands. This client trust can significantly benefit your business. If they believe you are putting their best interests first, they will be more likely to want to stay with you for whatever service you provide them.
Creates More Space
All of your confidential documents take up a lot of room in your business workplace, whether you store them in boxes, cupboards, or filing cabinets. By choosing confidential waste disposal, you will be able to free up more space and declutter your filing system. Before shredding your documents, we will always provide secure storage for your confidential papers and a certificate of destruction is provided after the shredded material is recycled.
How Can We Help With Your Confidential Waste Disposal?
Hopefully, this article has convinced you of the importance of confidential waste disposal, but why should you choose us? At Inspire Waste Management, we have years of experience in waste and recycling. Our contractors all have the required certifications to perform these tasks and are fully audited. We can help you wherever you are based in the UK. We’ll work hard to get your service in place within seven working days because we understand how important the task of disposing of your confidential waste is. With us taking care of your confidential waste, you can have peace of mind following all the waste disposal laws and regulations in the UK. There are flat rates, so budgeting for your confidential waste disposal is simple, and there are no hidden costs. Call us on 0800 002 9282 for a free consultation today for your confidential waste disposal needs.