Security experts are warning all businesses to beware of unregulated one man bands entering the data destruction sector and urge all businesses to use British Security Industry Association (BSIA) accredited companies.
As ID fraud and security move higher up the news agenda a plethora of companies have entered the confidential data destruction market to capitalise on this. This coupled with the news that businesses of all sizes are trying to reduce costs, means a host of companies could be looking to employ cheaper off site companies to destroy public confidential information.
Recent data security breaches include last week's news that police were investigating the contents of a computer memory stick said to contain sensitive anti-terror material which was reportedly found in the street outside a police station in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester. Furthermore Zurich Insurance was recently fined 2.3m by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for losing personal details of 46,000 customers.
Jim Watson, managing director of Shred Easy, one of the UK's largest confidential data destruction companies, said: "These non regulated one man bands may offer a cheaper service at the outset but do you know how secure your data is? Ask your data destruction company to provide you with an on site service so you can see your waste being destroyed. Also demand a Certificate of Destruction which confirms the time and date of the destruction. When you're dealing with highly sensitive information like medical records, addresses and bank details it's imperative they are securely destroyed.
"I'm calling for greater recognition of accreditation in the security sector. Look out for companies who have BSIA / UKSSA / NAID certification. This ensures a high quality and reliable data destruction service that's delivered by fully qualified businesses guaranteeing peace of mind."
Daren Wood, northern regional general manager at the BSIA, said:
"We would advise any businesses dealing with confidential data to choose a trusted information destruction supplier who will dispose of it correctly and in accordance with current laws. The BSIA is a great place to start when sourcing a reputable supplier, as all of our members meet strict criteria and adhere to high standards of quality."
Key questions to ask a data destruction company before employing them:
How does the company recycle the data?
Can you see the data being destroyed in front of you?
What proven quality and Security Association membership does the provider have?
Who is handling your data? What checks have been carried on the operatives?
Can the company provide client references?