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December 20, 2022

How Unsecured Confidential Documents Can Hurt Your Business

In today's business climate, data breaches have become all too common. In fact, according to research from IBM, the average cost of a data breach in 2021 is $4.35 million, a 12.7% increase from the previous year. While the financial cost of a data breach is certainly staggering, the damage to your company's reputation can be even worse. That is why it's important to ensure that all your confidential documents are properly shredded. Here's a closer look at how unsecured confidential documents can hurt your business.


How They Jeopardize Customer & Employee Information

Information is more important than ever, and any successful modern business needs to safely collect and store large amounts of sensitive employee and customer data such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and financial information. A lack of information security leaves those who invest their time and money in your business open to identity theft, fraud, and many other data breach-related crimes. Not only does leaving your customer and employee information unprotected hurt them, but in turn can result in serious legal and financial problems.


Identity TheftID Theft

One of the most common dangers of unsecured confidential documents is identity theft. Suppose a thief gets their hands on just a few pieces of your personal information, such as your social security number or driver's license number. With that information, they can open new accounts, file for benefits, and even commit crimes - all in someone else's name. The Federal Trade Commission reports that an American falls victim to identity theft every two seconds. It can take months or even years to recover from the crime's effects, such as damaged credit, financial problems, and emotional stress. In addition to the harm unsecured documents can cause your employees and customers, your business may be held liable for the damages incurred.


Non-compliance with Privacy Laws

As a business owner, your legal responsibility is to ensure that confidential documents are properly secured. You and your business can be held legally and financially responsible for violating privacy and data laws by not properly protecting this information. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is the governmental body that enforces federal privacy and data regulations. The FTC defines a 'deceptive practice' as a company's failure to provide adequate security of personal information. This violation can be legally enforced, ranging from serious fines to jail time.

Specific industries have additional regulatory laws and bodies which require specific adherence and considerations. For example:

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GBLA) governs personal information held by banks, insurance, and other financial industries.
  • Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) governs personal information protection held by healthcare services.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs personal information protection held by educational institutions.


How They Compromise Company Plans & Strategies

Your company plans and strategies are what set you apart from your competitors. They provide a roadmap for your business and can give you a significant advantage in the marketplace. If these documents were to fall into the wrong hands, they could have disastrous consequences, resulting in a loss of business opportunities. Not only would your competition be able to learn about your plans and strategies, but they could also use that information to their advantage.


The Risk Your Business’s Reputation

Another way that unsecured confidential documents can hurt your business is by causing you to lose customers and business. In today's competitive market, customers have many choices and are not afraid to take their business elsewhere if they feel their personal information is not properly protected. If your business suffers a data breach, you can expect a significant customer drop and possibly even lose your business completely. It is important to ensure that all confidential documents are properly secured and shredded when they are no longer needed to protect your company's reputation. This can be done by utilizing both an ongoing paper shredding and a secure hard drive disposal service.


PROSHRED® Raleigh Will Protect Your Business' Sensitive Information

Unsecured confidential documents can put your business at risk of non-compliance with privacy, data, and information laws. Depending on your business field, your specific industry may have even more stringent confidentiality laws. These breaches can devastate your business, leading to costly litigation, loss of customer trust, and irreparable damage to your reputation.

In short, by not properly securing confidential documents, you are putting your customers, employees, and yourself at risk. It is important to have a plan for securely storing and disposing of confidential documents to avoid these risks. Keep your business' confidential documents safe through mobile document shredding from PROSHRED® Raleigh. Our certified professionals have the experience and expertise to handle sensitive documents for every industry. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help keep your business safe!

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