In the legal sector, perhaps more than any other, there is a very specific need for data security. The way confidential information is held and managed can have a big impact on whether clients feel able to trust their advisors – and the consequences of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands can be severe. The way that law firms deal with data is essential, not just when it is in digital form but physical documents too – that’s why a comprehensive approach to paper and document shredding is so essential.
A paper based office environment
Despite the fact that many offices today are aiming to be paperless, most law firms still generate large volumes of documents. From client communications to reports and work product, as well as court documents and papers, boxes full of confidential data are being created on a daily basis. It’s essential to have a system in place to ensure that this data is being securely handled. Shredding is the only way to guarantee that any paper-based data will be completely destroyed when it is no longer needed. All it takes is a single document to fall into the wrong hands and a firm could suffer lasting reputational damage, as well as significant financial consequences.
Implementing a secure shredding process
Paper and document shredding in the legal industry contributes to building trust with clients and is essential to the process of risk management. It begins with ensuring that lockable containers are provided so that documents that are scheduled to be destroyed cannot be accessed by anyone prior to the process of shredding. Working with an on-site shredding service can further reduce the potential risk of data breach to the business by minimising the distance documents travel before being shredded. A regular scheduled service ensures that large volumes of documents containing potentially sensitive data don’t build up and that the firm is efficiently dealing with confidential data in a way that is designed to proactively avoid any breach.
When the GDPR came into force in May 2018 it created a new landscape for data management. Now, there are serious penalties for any business without effective measures in place to protect data and ensure it is handled carefully. These penalties range from substantial fines to the duty to disclose where there has been a data breach, even if this could significantly damage the firm’s reputation. Document shredding has a key role to place in ensuring that compliance is achieved with respect to paper-based data.
Staying on top of information management
Today, data and information management are essential for every business and paper and document shredding is a key part of the process. From making sure that data is accessible and well organised, to avoiding breach or loss of data, a comprehensive information management strategy necessarily has to include a shredding process.
It’s essential for any firm today to ensure that document and paper shredding is properly handled, both from the point of view of avoiding a breach and also to support client service and compliance.