Data Destruction: Top Tips for Staying Compliant
The tech world has changed tremendously over the last two decades. There are so many amounts of digital data created every second. This deluge isn’t slowing down, and the rate of data creation keeps on increasing. With the creation of so much data comes the eventual need for data destruction.
According to one International Data Corporation (IDC), the digital world is expanding every day, at 40% annually. It is, therefore, essential to ensure confidentiality. Various companies are responsible for storing, generating, and securing large amounts of this type of data. The International data corporation was able to discover that consumers and companies’ employees were able to create around two-thirds of the data points.
When data is stored correctly, it will be a significant advantage to a business. It will help the companies serve their customers better, fine-tune on their day to day business, and forecast their prospects. That way, the market can generate valuable information that is useful for its growth in the future. In St. Louis, companies have been able to come up with various ways to help maintain valuable data and also develop multiple strategies for ensuring confidentiality.
The point here is, with more data in the display, the chances are high that there will also be an increased responsibility. The more data that the companies can create, the more effort they must apply in managing it and also destroying it in a way to protect the consumers’ and employees’ privacy. There are ways through which companies have been using so that they may ruin this confidential information instead of leaking it to the public.
The data breach statistics have continued to expand, and various compliance regulations have been getting tighter every day. The legal fees and fines related to non-compliance usually vary widely. Companies should get ready to pay more as courts and class action lawyers will offer almost zero help when it comes to matters of data misuse. Therefore, one is required to come up with ways through which they can work on making sure that various data destruction categories are correctly put in place.
With people being sued for exposing critical consumers’ information, various measures have been put in place to ensure proper data destruction.
What is Data Destruction?
The correct definition for data destruction is that process of destroying information confidentially without leaking any information or leaving any traces behind. The process can either be through digital or paper and must be done according to the industry’s best practice and set compliance standards.
Secure data destruction will help overwrite sensitive information while leaving the original materials unreadable. There are many St Louis data destruction set standards that have been rated among the best.
Data that has not been destroyed is vulnerable to identity theft among other things. According to a study done in 2015, around 48% of the smartphones, secondhand drives had data that contained very sensitive information, videos, and photos accordingly. Most of the time, there is a need to have data destruction categories that work perfectly well. With the advancement of technology, people have devised various ways of storing crucial information.
These stakes are even higher for the larger organizations and companies as well and thus a need to ensure there is confidentiality in every sector. When a company fails to sanitize the leased computer, you may compromise the information of your clients who may later sue you for negligence. You may end up paying hefty fines for the damages caused because of exposing close details relating to your clients. Eventually, you may lose your businesses because clients will no longer entrust you with their details.
Data Destruction Laws
As the information sources keep on expanding and gaining new momentum, so has the government regulations. St Louis data regulations are not different from other states. There are several federal and state laws that mandate companies to properly destroy data to protect their employees and consumers as well. They have been able to be implemented to the core, and many companies are complying as per the best practice standards.
The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is a strict law passed in 1996 when the health sector started relying on digital systems in administrative and clinical settings. The data is meant to protect clients’ sensitive information which, if not correctly disposed of, might result in compromising their privacy. It will enhance the protection of all the medical records and disclosure as well.
HIPAA has extremely stringent data destruction protocols which include the following:
- The labeled prescription bottles should be stored in opaque bags before a disposal contractor destroys them.
- The paper records have to be pulverized, shredded, purpled, or burned until all the patient information becomes unreadable and can’t be reconstructed.
- The electronic data should be cleared using magnetic methods or overwriting software. These methods will leave no traces of evidence behind.
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
This law was enacted in 1984 and has subsequently been updated six times. These editions were done to reflect the significant changes in technology and data technology. Things have been changing very fast in the data industry, and there is a need to capture all of the information necessary. This law has prohibited accessing a computer without authority from the user. It was also designed to deal with hackers who have always worked towards stealing critical information from other networks. Things are changing, and the punishments herein can be severe and may result in major criminal convictions.
The famous Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act is the law that mandates the various financial institutions like mortgage lenders, banks, and credit unions to explain how they share their information and the policies they apply. They also help them protect various sensitive information, which may end up in the hands of hackers and causing a big mess. The St Louis data destruction procedures are required to be very consistent with the famous Federal Trade Commission’s disposal regulations. That is why there are strict data destruction categories in that order to ensure the safety of clients and staff as well. Banks and other financial institutions hold critical information regarding their customers, which might be compromised to siphon money from their accounts.
Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002
This law was enhanced to respond to the various financial sector scandals. The bill comes in to protect the investors from all manners of corporate fraud. The Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002(SOX) has managed to set a particular guideline for auditing, retaining, and destroying every bit of financial data that fraudsters can use to get information. Most of the industry shareholders have suffered a big blow after their data has been left to be viewed by enemies and opportunists.
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
FACTA is an amendment to the once-famous Fair Credit Reporting Act. The law was enacted in 2003 and has been protecting various consumers form any form of identity theft. The bill also argues that all businesses, regardless of industry or size, must protect the consumer data or be held accountable. In 2005, the FACTA also factored in some specialized data disposal guidelines. This law has helped enhance the industry’s safety. These bodies have always worked closely to ensure that St Louis data destruction procedures are followed accordingly. They also work directly with various clients in ensuring that compliance is adhered to among several arrays of industry standards.
Various Tips for Data Destruction Compliance
Data can be referred to as a double-edged sword. It is precious to companies but can also be very destructive when it has been mishandled. It has always helped various companies understand their consumer trends. When a company fails to maintain an adequate date destruction compliance, the whole thing can turn against him with hefty penalties and lawsuits. The overall result can be traumatizing because of the reputation damage that may bring a business to a standstill. The St Louis data destruction experts have always worked to ensure that they enable corporations to safeguard on their overall business interests.
There are several steps that many companies can institute to remain compliant in the sector. They include:
1. Establishing a Data Destruction Policy
Maintenance of data compliance always begins with the creations of policies that surround the St Louis data destruction process. It should be analyzed by the various data destruction categories to enhance the smooth flow of activities.
A company should be evident in the data they would like to protect. Not all the information is created equally, and it is essential to help identify which documents should be included in the data destruction procedures. In the drafting policies process, the companies must involve representatives from various departments and ensure all improvement opportunities and weak points are considered. It will help them improve on privacy during the next destruction period.
Kindly it is good to note that enforcing the policies is very important as creating them as well. There should be a regular audit of the St Louis data destruction policies to ensuring that all the requirements set aside are being met.
2. Digitizing Records
Some companies are required to keep hard copies for some individual records for a particular duration of time. In these exceptional cases, there are several methods and various retention schedules for securely destroying the paper documents. It is, therefore, essential to enhance a sound filing system that will have disposable materials ready.
However, the paper is usually an unnecessary liability. It is not possible to determine the person who read a piece of paper or even the one who did a copy of the same. Even the most advanced filing system cannot alert anyone when the paperwork is missing or even when the paper was audited. Such challenges require a different approach when handling such things.
The idea of digitizing records and smart data destruction software can be automatically configured to help delete documents as per the schedules. Companies will use this strategy to ensure that sensitive data is permanently destroyed when the right time comes. These data destruction categories will leave no evidence and protect consumers and clients from any unexpected risk of stolen information.
3. Using a Records Management Software
Technology advancement has continued improving the lives of people through making it easier and better. In the data destruction industry, there has been the introduction of the records management software, which has helped so many people achieve tremendous results in their industry. The software has been a one-stop-shop for the protection of data throughout its entire life cycle. When the processes are automated and independent audits done, the systems will be responsible for alerting the various users when these documents should be destroyed. Retaining certain materials for a more extended period may result in fines. So it is advisable to destroy these documents promptly or face the rule of law.
4. Working with Records Management Consultants
The various laws for data destruction and retention vary by state and industry as well. St Louis data destruction laws have always worked to ensure that the company is complying with the rules and mostly working with records management consultants who are still available. These consultants are the ones who decide whether the company is appropriately storing data and protecting them from costly fines and lawsuits.
What to Consider in a St Louis Data Destruction Vendor
When thinking of the best ways to destroy digital files or paper documents, you will need the input of a data destruction vendor who will be there to ensure that the information is deleted completed. Before hiring the vendor of your choice, it is essential to do adequate research to ensure that they meet the company’s individual needs. These people should also be qualified to protect your clients and employees as well.
When looking for a company to help secure St Louis data destruction, it is essential to ask the following questions:
1. Is the Vendor NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) Certified?
The association is the one recognized for setting the various industry standards for safe disposal of confidential information.
2. Do the Vendors provide destruction certificates?
These detailed documents will describe how the data was destroyed. These certificates would protect you in the event of a lawsuit or an audit.
3. Do these vendors adhere to the state, federal and industry standards?
This compliance is crucial. The vendor will be deemed illegal if it does not comply with the above standards on the data destruction policies. The use of technology comes after being registered by a professional body.
4. Do the companies provide a chain of custody?
When did St Louis data destruction through paper documents or hard drives, it is essential to know the persons who had access and when. This one will protect them if any breach of contract occurs.
As the data continues to increase, companies have developed unique ways to improve their operations and serve their customers with integrity. However, companies need to understand how they can protect themselves against data breaches and other forms of information mismanagement. This approach can only be enhanced by creating data destruction policies and hiring St Louis data destruction vendors.