Keeping your information safe: How to properly Dispose of Records

Wed, Jun 22, 2022
By: Steve Clopton
Keeping your information safe: How to properly Dispose of Records

Many businesses and government agencies have schedules for record retention and disposal. Certain types of records are kept longer while others are kept for a shorter time. But the actual disposal of records should have specific procedures, especially if they contain personally identifiable information (PII).

Both paper records and electronic records should have specific disposal protocols per the approved retention schedules. If your company is held to any regulatory statutes that require record disposal, there should be a schedule in place to maintain compliance. The importance of record disposal should be impressed upon all staff, whether they are involved in record disposal or not.

Often, it is best for one person or a team to be appointed to the task of disposing of records. This ensures it is done consistently and accurately.

Importance of Record Disposal

Disposal of old records is essentially the destruction of records that are obsolete, out of date, or superseded but lack the importance to be archived. Periodically, the records system must be purged in order to maintain the integrity of the system and ensure it remains effective, reliable, and credible.

Some reasons to  dispose of old records include:

  • Reduce storage costs
  • Ensure the reliability and efficiency of official records systems
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Comply with regulatory statutes
  • Demonstrate accountability in proper records management
  • Demonstrate consistency in disposal and management of records
  • Make electronic and paper records systems more efficient
  • Limit the risk of PII or sensitive information being exposed or accessed by unauthorized personnel

Keeping records that are out of date or no longer useful can create frustration and confusion for your staff. It can also be problematic and become a bottleneck in the records search and acquisition processes.

Methods of Record Disposal

Obviously disposing of records requires a little more than dumping in the nearest garbage can – although some areas do include the landfill as a viable option. There are several effective methods for disposing of both paper and electronic records. Surprisingly, the methods are quite similar for both.

There are three standard methods of record disposal for paper records:

  • Incineration
  • Shredding or milling
  • Pulping

Destruction of electronic records follows the same pattern. The storage media is destroyed by:

  • Incineration
  • Crushing
  • Shredding
  • High level overwriting that makes the previous data unretrievable
  • Demagnetizing or degaussing

The most effective method of record or data disposal is shredding. It has long been used for paper documents and is also effective for media tapes and hard drives. It is considered one of the best ways to dispose of records because it is more secure and is very cost-effective.

Contact Gilmore

At Gilmore, we pride ourselves on being the leaders in document shredding and destruction. Our records disposal services include:

Whether your company is large or small, whatever your records disposal needs, we are here to help. With locations throughout Florida and Alabama, we help businesses throughout the Southeast and beyond.

Call Gilmore today to find out how we can help your business with records management. Whether you prefer scheduled shredding or want to take care of it in your own time, we can accommodate you. We offer secure, affordable, and reliable records disposal for all of our clients. We can do it for you too.