Smart business owners know their paperwork is more than just a stack of documents. All that paperwork contains the information that allows their business to function – and that means those documents need to be protected.
Think about it: you work with confidential information every single day, from credit card numbers to Social Security numbers, checks, pay stubs, private contact information, and more.
Paperwork containing this information needs to be disposed of properly. This is not just for the protection of you and your clients, but often because it’s the law, depending on your type of business.
Protecting this valuable information begins with two things: shredding sensitive documents and ensuring those documents are scanned and securely backed up.
So what documents should you be shredding and backing up? Here is a list of key paperwork you should be shredding and, in some circumstance, scanning:
1. Employee information and personnel files – Your employees will appreciate that you are looking after their privacy.
2. Social security numbers – Anything with a social security number on it can expose people to identity theft, so be wary of documents containing this information.
3. Medical Records – This one is huge, because HIPAA regulations are stringent when it comes to protecting medical information. Violations can result in fines and even the loss of a medical practice license.
4. Canceled Checks – Using cancelled checks to create “new” checks, and in turn bleed an account dry, is an old practice used by savvy thieves. A move towards paperless business operations can help prevent this.
5. Receipts & Invoices – They may seem like insignificant scraps of paper, but in fact they can be used to find out your internal spending, your overhead, data about your business partners, and more. This is sensitive information, so be sure to have this material backed up and shredded.
6. Client Lists – A list of information this sensitive is not something you want to get into the hands of competitors.
7. Credit card numbers – If you have documents with credit card numbers on them, they should be shredded. A common form of theft is to go through a business’s garbage and look for such numbers. Shred them!
8. Bank account numbers – Do yourself a favor and have all your banking documents stored in a secure, encrypted digital environment.
9. Memos & Internal letters – Memos may not seem like much, but they can provide your competitors with information on how you run your business. There may also be information in such documents that could cause privacy concerns or expose you to legal trouble. Have them shredded!
10. Pay stubs – Pay stubs contain sensitive information about your employees. Be sure to properly dispose of them so identity thieves cannot get their hands on them.
11. Tax records – No matter the type of tax documents, don’t let this data get into the wrong hands. This is especially true of W2 and 1099 forms.
No matter the kind of business you run, security is important. In today’s world, criminals have any number of ways of making life more difficult for you, your employees, and your business partners.
But if you’re smart, you can prevent it. It all begins with digital archiving and document shredding.