The following is a guest post by Andrew Morrell.

The general public and businesses alike fret over how to dispose of their sensitive documents. Anything from a personal paper to PII/PCI data to an accounting sheet can be used by competitors or otherwise be a source of ridicule and liability. The difference for a business is that competition for real money is at stake. A large business can have thousands of pages to destroy. The choice is between small office shredders and professional services.

While it might surprise some, there are enterprises that offer to haul away waste paper in fairly large trucks and use an industrial shredder. This is one way to dispose and recycle a mountain of business documents. Since some of that information is sensitive, it is important to hire someone who completely destroys it.

Shredded Brick, by DaveBleasdale

These services can shred the documents off-site in their industrial shredder, mixing the fine particles with other pieces of paper or they can visit your business with a mobile shredder. This removes the risk of losing the confidential information on the journey, which some businesses prefer.

The principle alternative to outsourcing is office shredding devices. These vary in size and power. They vary in the shred size but most business shredders will cut paper into illegible pieces. Cross-cut/confetti-cut shredding is generally the most secure form and most shredders are designed with this technique.

Fellowes are the top brand when it comes to shredders, with one of their shredders claimed to have been used in the infamous Watergate scandal. One example of their most popular shredders is the Fellowes Powershred SB-97CS, which uses the confetti-cut technique, accepts staples and cuts the paper into 0.16 x 1.5in pieces. Another popular business shredder is the Fellowes 3228901 Intellishred SB-89Ci, which uses the cross-cut technique and cuts the paper into the same size as above.

Both of these shredders are around the $300 mark and both are rated in level 3 (out of 6, although levels 5 and 6 are for top secret/classified files) when it comes to security levels in shredding. For greater security, you will need to look into more expensive shredders with some going past the $1,000 mark.

With this in mind, it is important to weigh up your needs and costs to decide whether you wish to shred confidential information in house with your own shredder or choose to outsource this task to a shredding company.

Andrew Morrell has been involved in the confidential shredding business for several years and believes in the importance of business security and managing paperwork. He currently works for Russell Richardson.

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