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What to Shred for Protecting Sensitive Data

What To Shred Today A Professional's Guide To Information Security

Protecting sensitive and confidential information is crucial for both businesses and individuals. That’s why securely disposing of documents is a top priority for many. However, determining which records should be destroyed can be challenging. In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of shredding and explore the various types of documents that warrant shredding.

What Document Shredding Is, And Why It’s Important

Shredding documents is a process of destroying paper materials containing confidential information. Shredding helps prevent unauthorized access or use of that data, protecting individuals and companies from identity theft, fraud, and other malicious activities. It also helps comply with legal requirements regarding destroying sensitive paperwork, such as financial, medical, and customer information.

What Documents To Shred

When it comes to deciding what documents should be destroyed, here are some basic guidelines that can help:

Financial Documents

Any old bank statements may contain account numbers and personal information. Tax returns and financial statements should be securely shredded after the required retention period.

Credit Card Statements

Monthly credit card statements should be shredded when they are no longer needed to protect financial information and account numbers.

Medical Records

Medical records contain highly sensitive information about a person’s health history, so it is essential to shred these documents once they are no longer needed.

Personal Correspondence

Shred all letters or notes that include personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, or Social Security numbers.

Business Documents

Businesses should shred documents containing confidential information about customers, employees, or business activities. This includes contracts or agreements with third-party vendors and non-public financial reports.

Legal Correspondence

Documents related to legal matters, lawsuits, or contracts should be shredded when they are no longer needed.

Confidential Agreements

Non-disclosure agreements and company procedures should be shredded when they are no longer needed to protect confidential business information.

Client Information

When documents containing client or customer details are no longer relevant, it is imperative to securely shred them. This ensures the utmost protection of sensitive information, safeguarding the privacy of individuals involved.

Payroll Records

Payroll records should be securely shredded when they are no longer needed to protect employee information.

HR Documents

Human Resources-related documents such as job applications and employee contracts should be shredded when they are no longer needed.

Travel Documents

Flight tickets, receipts, and other travel documents should be shredded when no longer needed.

Insurance Records

Once insurance paperwork, like claim forms and policies, is no longer necessary, it is crucial to securely shred them. This ensures the utmost protection while maintaining organizational efficiency.

Secure Shredding Practices

When it comes to shredding documents, it’s essential to follow best practices to ensure that the information remains secure:

Regularly Scheduled Shredding

Establishing a consistent shredding schedule is crucial to avoid accumulating confidential documents. This practice ensures efficient management, safeguarding sensitive information effectively.

Secure Disposal

Ensure the secure disposal of shredded materials by considering the use of locked bins for their collection and disposal.

Document Retention Policy

A well-defined document retention policy is crucial for determining the appropriate time to shred documents. By establishing and adhering to this policy, you can ensure optimal word choice, structure, readability, and eloquence while retaining the intended meaning.

Staying Compliant

Compliance with data protection regulations is a critical aspect of information security. Depending on your industry and location, you may be subject to specific data retention and destruction laws. Familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure your shredding practices meet legal requirements.


Healthcare providers must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines, including securing patient record disposal.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Organizations subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act must adhere to document retention and destruction practices.


Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), businesses must securely destroy consumer information when it is no longer necessary for business purposes.


Shredding documents containing sensitive information is a fundamental step toward safeguarding your data, complying with regulations, and maintaining the trust of yours and customers. You can safely and efficiently dispose of any document with Desert Document Shredders. Our reliable shredding services make it easy to keep your information secure and protect yourself from identity theft or data breaches. Contact us today for more information on our professional shredding solutions.

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