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WWorkplaces have shred policies. Without shred policies, everything gets kept – leaving the workplace in a chaos of paper and materials that may no longer be needed. Or, everything gets thrown away – leaving the company vulnerable to any dumpster-divers in search of company trade-secrets, data, finances, research, or office memos.

To shred, or not to shred becomes the question. Shred it when privacy or protection is needed. Shred it as a general practice when you are releasing materials into a dumpster system that anyone can access. Shred it when sensitive information is included. Shred it whenever information that could be used by someone else to make purchases is included (credit card statements as an example).

The timeframes and practicalities of shredding range from daily destruction to annual document destroying. Workstation shredders make slices of paper not to be seen by others. Shredding companies exist for the purpose of gathering large volumes of documents or archived materials that are no longer needed and destroying the paperwork in order to protect the no-longer-needed information.

To shred, or not to shred, applies to personal documents too: bills, statements, taxes, medical information and the like make sense to shred before trashing or recycling the paper. Anything you don’t want others to see, shred it. Office supply stores sell paper-only shredders as well as heavier-duty machines that can slice a credit card.

The efforts made to shred documents are made in the name of protection and privacy. Again: If you don’t want someone else to read it, shred it.

What are you shredding? What should the company be shredding?

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