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  Questions & Answers  


Q: What kind of documents should I shred in order to keep my company, employee, and client information secure?

A:One of the most important things you can do as a business is to keep your company, employee, and client information secure. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know what documents you need to destroy, and which you can merely put in the recycling bin. Though this list may seem at first glance to be little bit over the top, you truly cannot be too careful these days. Not only is identity theft running rampant, but according to some new laws that are on the books, your company could be held liable, or even incur hefty federal fines if it can be proven that a victim of identity theft was compromised by sensitive information that your company mishandled or did not properly destroy.

Another reason to be diligent in destroying your sensitive documents is to protect your competitive edge. If, for instance, something as simple as even a patent application fell into unscrupulous hands, it could cost your company untold amounts of money. So in order to keep your company secrets as well as your customer and employee information secure, shredding is recommended. Here, then, is a list of documents that your business handles every day that should be shredded on site, every day, given of course, that they are no longer needed. Check out the list, print it out and give it to your employees or post it next to your shredder so that you are always thinking about the types of items that need to be shredded.

1. General

* Address and phone numbers
* Any items marked confidential
* Company by laws
* Certificates
* Expired maintenance records
* Inventory supply and services
* Passwords
* Policies
* Signatures
* Social security numbers




2. Customers

* Account Numbers
* Credit history reports
* Data
* Lists
* Purchase orders
* Invoices
* Sales Orders

3. Employee

* Benefits package
* Discharge papers
* Employment Information
* Health Documents (medical and dental)
* Organizational chart
* Promotion and merit raise documents
* Records or contracts
* Resumes
* 401K info that is no longer needed

4. Finance

* Account Statements
* Bank statements
* Bills unless for tax purposes
* Budgets
* Canceled checks and debit receipts after reconciled exept for tax purposes or warranties
* Cellular phone statements
* Corporate credit card statements
* Estimates
* Expense statements
* Financial records
* Invoices
* Leases and or rental contracts
* Loan contracts
* Sales forecasts

5. Legal

* Claims
* Confidentiality agreements
* Expired Contracts with customers and vendors
* Expired service agreements
* Incorporation documents
* Licensing agreements
* Non filed patented and trademark documents
* Patent and trademark search request forms
* Patent disputes
* Patent studies
* Settlements
* Severance Agreements.
* Software agreements
* Trade secrets
* Trademark Oppositions
* Unsolicited disclosure
* Product information
* Design documentation
* Engineering specifications
* Expired Warranties
* Liability documentation
* Patents
* Plans
* Prototype documentation
* Research
* Testing documentation

6. Strategic

* Competitive documentation
* Marketing plans and objectives
* Operating expenses
* Pricing information
* Pricing structure
* Sales goals
* Strategic plans

7. Travel

* Expired passports and work visas
* Luggage tags
* Telephone bills
* Travel itineraries
* Used airline tickets

This is just a brief overview of some of the different types of documents that your organization should be shredding. In truth, the list could go on and on. However, this is a starting place and it should help you to get thinking about shredding in a whole new way. Take the list, print it out. Post it by your shredder. Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you and your employees protect your company, your clients and your employees.

About the Author: Jeff McRitchie

Article Source: ActiveAuthors.com