In today’s world, we all need to make sure we are taking every precaution to ensure that our company stays secure. One way you can do this is by using secure paper destruction. It is very important that you protect your company and the documents that contain important information from identity theft.
Digi-Shred offers a variety of paper shredders for sale and shredder services, and our team is here to help you choose what shredder or shredder service will suit your needs best. Either outright purchase or finance options are available. Digi-Shred also has a full shredder service option as well as daily shredder rentals.
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How office shredders strengthen data protection
Even in the age of ubiquitous digital information, paper records are far from passé. Mail and physical contracts, among other items, remain essential to many workflows and must be handled and disposed of with care. Left unsecured, these records can expose sensitive details such as protected health information, which is why it’s important to shred them and any other confidential documents as needed to render their contents indecipherable.
Office shredders ensure compliance with applicable regulations, help prevent identity theft and lessen the risk of a costly data breach. But how can you select the right shredder for your organisation’s use case?
There are many criteria to consider with any office shredder. Let’s look at 7 questions to ask when evaluating your options.
- What is its DIN 66399 security level and paper cut style?
Shredders are classified into different security levels, based on the size of the paper particles once a shredding operation is complete. Each level in the official DIN 66399 standard requires a minimum particle size and cut type.
DIN P-1 and P-2 specify strip cuts, P-3 and P-4 cross cuts and P-5, P-6 and P-7 micro cuts; particle sizes become progressively smaller as the security level number increases. All paper shredders fit into one of three categories based on those cut types: strip cut, cross-cut and micro cut.
For safe disposal of confidential records containing sensitive information, it’s generally advised to use at least a P-3 shredder. Cross cut and micro cut office shredders generate much smaller particles than strip cut shredders, making it less practical for anyone to interpret or reconstruct the shredded document. For example, a P-3 shredder cuts an A4 piece of paper into approximately 312 particles, as compared to only 36 particles for a P-1 shredder.
The general cut level breakdown is as follows:
Strip cut: Large particles, low security, levels P-1 and P-2
Cross cut: Medium-sized particles, higher security, levels P-3 and P-4
Micro cut: Small particles, highest security, levels P-5 through P-7
P-4 Cross Cut
The right selection of cut style will depend upon the security and compliance requirements of the office. For a home office, a relatively low security level may be sufficient, since there likely aren’t any stringent regulations in place and the documents being handled probably won’t be prime targets of thieves attempting to reconstruct them.
In contrast, the higher security of a cross cut or micro cut shredder is necessary for businesses. Organisations can’t risk having readable documents fall into the wrong hands. A pivotal scene from the Oscar-winning film Argo, in which simple strip cut shredded intelligence photographs are carefully reassembled, shows the danger in this regard.
READ MORE: 5 Ways You Can Protect Your Digital Information
- Does it have manual or auto feed?
Manual-feeding shredders require documents to be fed by hand in relatively small batches. In contrast, auto feeding models allow larger batches of paper to be inserted into a tray or compartment to be shredded without user assistance, freeing up the user’s time.
Security is not an issue if you choose an auto feed shredder with a security PIN locking feature, which allows a user to safely walk away while even a very large job is completed. A manual-feeding shredder would require more hands-on attention.
- What is its runtime and cooldown time?
Paper shredders are powerful machines and generate significant heat in the process of shredding documents. That heat limits how long they can run before needing to cool down, similar to how a PC needs a fan or heat sink, or else it would shut down from overheating.
Office shredders have a wide range of possible runtimes and corresponding cooldown periods. Simpler models may be able to continuously shred documents for fewer than 10 minutes before an extended break is required. On the other end of the spectrum, higher-performance heavy-duty shredders can run uninterrupted for hours.
While cutting documents into smaller particles to meet the requirements for high security levels like P-5 generates more heat, micro cut shredders don’t necessarily need longer cooldowns than less intensive cross cut or strip cut machines. The runtime and cooldown times both depend on the technical specifications of the office shredder in question.
- What is its sheet capacity?
A very basic paper shredder can handle only a few sheets at a time. This low capacity is fine if someone only needs to shred the occasional sensitive document from time to time and isn’t in need of bulk record disposal.
If an office does require more scalable shredding capacity, some shredders can load hundreds of sheets at a time.
- What is its bin capacity?
Regardless of how many sheets of paper it can handle at once or its runtime or security level, an office shredder will eventually need to be emptied. Its shredded materials accumulate in a removable bin, with a capacity measured in gallons and/or sheets.
Larger bins mean less frequent emptying, saving time in offices in which high-volume shredding is a regular occurrence. Look for a shredder that includes indicator lights that conveniently show when it’s time to empty the bin.
- What can it shred in addition to paper?
Paper is inevitably the medium most closely associated with shredding, but it’s not the only material that will need to be routinely destroyed in order to ensure comprehensive data security. Credit cards, optical discs (CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs), glossy posters and brochures, and even mixed-media junk mail contain information that shouldn’t be left out in the open.
Heavy-duty paper shredders can process these items just like paper. For example, they can reduce optical media to tiny plastic strips that wouldn’t be reconstructable or readable by any compatible player.
At the same time, they may also be able to take care of any staples and paper clips still attached to a paper document. That saves time, as documents can be fed as is into the shredder, without having to devote lots of time to removing tiny pieces of metal by hand.
- What kind of anti-jam and preventative maintenance features does it offer?
Paper jams are a constant concern with shredders, as they can bring document destruction to a complete halt. Every office shredder will contain some features for preventing jams, but the implementation will vary between models.
In addition to the above criteria, cost is always a relevant consideration when evaluating different office shredder options. To serve offices of all sizes, Digi-Shred offers shredders that fit into a wide variety of budgets and meet a full range of requirements for security, speed and capacity.
To get started, take a look at our current office shredder options. Have additional questions? Our team is also always available for live chat on our site to answer your questions about shredders and other products in real time.