How Your Office Shredder Is Putting Your Company At Risk

blurred person walking down stairs, with an office space at the bottom, open planned with desks surrounding the area

It might look innocent enough but your office shredder machine actually poses as much a threat to your business as the most virulent computer virus.

What?! How?

How could something that was bought to protect your business be as harmful as a computer Trojan?

It’s simple really: it’s not fit for purpose. Yes, it cuts your unwanted documents into thin strips. But—and this is the important bit—it leaves your company exposed to all kinds of trouble because those strips can be reassembled.

All it takes is a little bit of patience to reassemble those bits and read your documents.

Now, you might think this all sounds far-fetched, a little too James Bond/Jason Bourne for your circumstances but unfortunately, it’s not.

In fact, there’s even software that runs on Windows whose very purpose is to reassemble shredded documents.

Called ‘Unshredder’, it automates the reassembly of torn or shredded documents, thus saving ‘even novice computer users’ the tedious task of doing the job by hand.

What if those documents reveal your company’s strategic plans for the next five years? Or the details of your next big ‘secret’ project? Or the names and personal details of your customers or clients?

Even office memos can reveal valuable information in the wrong hands.

And let’s face it, people who take the trouble to reassemble shredded paper to find sensitive company information aren’t doing it for benign or charitable reasons.

No, they’re most likely doing it for nefarious purposes: to expose your company’s plans via social media or traditional media; to sell the information they find to your competitors; to blackmail your company, or to commit large-scale identity theft using your customers’ details.

The impact of your company’s secrets being revealed could be devastating. But the impact of your customers’ or clients’ details being revealed could be just as bad.

Here in the UK, for instance, companies that collect customers’ or clients’ personal details are legally obliged to protect those details under a law called the Data Protection Act 1998.

The same law also states that companies are legally obliged to carefully destroy customer records when they no longer need to retain them.

Not doing so results in severe penalties.

Like the £100,000 fine handed out to a local council which was found guilty of dumping the personal records of 100 people in a building, it had once used as offices. The personal records were found stuffed inside 45 bags of rubbish left by the departing council employees.

So, allowing your customers’ details to fall into the wrong hands could result in your company ending up on the wrong side of the law.

And it doesn’t matter how healthy your turnover is, few companies can take a £100,000 hit to their monthly cash flow without hurting.

There’s more. If word gets out that your company doesn’t protect your customers’ details, think of the public relations implications. Who will want to risk buying from your company again?

How can you avoid this kind of disaster?

Simple, you outsource your document disposal to companies that offer paper shredding services. These companies use industrial-scale paper shredders with blades capable of transforming your documents into tiny, uneven bits of paper that can’t be reassembled.

Just as importantly, these companies will provide you with proof of destruction so that you have an audit trail, should you ever be in a position where you need it.

And as with all kinds of outsourcing, there are many other benefits too.

One, you save on overheads. You no longer need to pay for the repair, maintenance, and replacement of an office shredding machine that, like a photocopier, has an unfortunate habit of breaking down when you most need it.

Two, your employees no longer need to waste time slowly feeding one document at a time into the office shredding machine. Instead, they can do the job for which they were employed.

Three, you save space. No need to allocate valuable office space for the mountain of documents that need to be fed one page at a time into your office shredder.

Four, you save money. And five, you help save the environment, because most reputable professional paper shredding services recycle what’s left of the documents they process.

So, as you see, although outsourcing has attracted its fair share of negative press in the past, it is often a force for good in a company.

It not only allows you and your employees to focus on your core competencies but saves you money and time.

Paper-shredding is just one example of what you can outsource in your business. You can in fact outsource all your technology services and business processes such as HR and finance, which allows you to operate a leaner, more efficient business and use the savings to drive growth.

Enlisting the services of an experienced part-time FD, for example, can add value, increase efficiency and maximise opportunities in your business.

You get access to an FD with the experience and knowledge to help you plan, manage and control business growth and who can organise both your in-house and external accounts functions.

Many business owners don’t realise the breadth of the role of a part-time FD. For instance, a part-time FD will not only become an unofficial ‘sounding board’ for the often-isolated CEO or owner of the business but can also help devise an efficient outsourcing strategy for the company.

If one of our part-time FDs helps you to create an outsourcing strategy, for example, the process will include:

  • Evaluating your company’s current and future requirements.
  • Discussing a company-wide strategy/protocol for taking on outsourced providers
  • Investigating specific outsourced providers (starting with our national network of trusted providers) with proven track records
  • Evaluating providers’ core competencies to ensure they find the right match
  • Discussing cost implications in detail and uncover any hidden costs before contracting the supplier
  • Interviewing providers and ensure they will be a good cultural fit
  • Ensuring that the provider will be able to deliver the service on time and to the right standard
  • Challenging providers about their data security and integrity
  • Asking providers to share their contingency plans in the event of serious problems
  • Evaluating providers’ training programmes and ability to support your business in the event of staff sickness or absence
  • Discussing providers’ compliance policies to ensure that they will take on the responsibility (where appropriate) to adhere to laws and regulatory requirements.

And that’s just outsourcing. For a fraction of the cost of hiring a junior member of staff, our part-time FDs will work with you to resolve all of the 12 major challenges your company is likely to face:

  1. Exit Planning
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Implementation Timetable
  4. Strategic Funding
  5. Internal Systems
  6. Reporting
  7. Profit Improvement
  8. Cash Flow Management
  9. Compliance Reporting
  10. Tax Planning and Legal Issues
  11. Outsourcing
  12. Banking Relationship

And because it’s a part-time role, there’s no impact on your payroll or headcount.

What’s not to like?


So, if you want to keep your company safe, outsource your paper-shredding. And if you want to free up your time, save money and accelerate your business growth, hire a part-time FD.

To find out more about how a part-time FD will help your business, book a free one-to-one call with one of our part-time FDs now by clicking here or call us on 0800 1691499.

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