Everyone protects confidential information while it is deemed confidential. What of when it is no longer confidential? What happens to the files that join the trash just because you no longer need them? How do you dispose of these properly, ensuring that it does not fall into the wrong hands?
No one understands confidentiality like lawyers and law firms, and by profession, many have well-spelled out guidelines on how long it is expected to store client files. However, almost no one has guidelines about how to handle confidential data that, all of a sudden, becomes “unconfidential”. How then is it expected to dispose of files under this category?
One of the best ways to do this is to use an office shredder, or better still, hire a company offering mobile shredding services in LA. Some questions you may want to ask: Are you disposing of files safely and securely? What about small notes? Is your firm clearly communicating how to properly dispose of information to protect your colleagues and clients?
To review this process and get rules on board, you must ask these questions: Is the file disposal process secure and well-followed? How are small scribbling notes (like sticky notes) handled? Does the firm follow a well-defined process and educate the staff on adequately disposing of paper to prevent unnecessary information divulging?
Below are some tips to follow when it comes to disposing of paper and files that might cause information leakage:
Identify (and separate) all documents that need to be disposed of.
It is easy to recognize which client files are to be kept and which are no longer needed, but what about paper that contains confidential information, like quick memos, payroll sheets, and HR files? Make a list of all sheets that should be destroyed rather than disposed of. You know for a fact, and maybe from experience, how your company’s reputation depends on how you carry out this task.
Ensure you know the laws that affect the handling of information
There exist so many laws concerning how firms, in general, protect, secure, and handle their information. Some of these laws are the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the US Patriot Act, and the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act. One law that directly affects the legal profession is the 2020 California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), founded on the 2005 “Shine the Light” California law. This law is intended to protect legal clients and customers, allowing them to know who has access to one’s private information and how it is being used. This 2020 Act applies to all personal consumer data in all forms. Compliance monitors all formats that data can exist, digital or physical (paper).
You need to spend on data security now, else it will cost more if they occur.
Data breaches occur in various sizes and affect different parts of the security system, and mishandling paper information is not left out as one of the causes. According to a recent data breach study, the average cost of repairing a data breach is a startling 8 million dollars in the United States, while the worldwide median is about 4 million dollars. This is why you need to act now!
Hire a mobile shredding company in Los Angeles.
Arguably the best way to stay safe as a legal company is to hire a professional shredding company in Los Angeles to help you shred your paper with machines compliant with CCPA standards. And if you hire a mobile shredding company in Los Angeles, you can stand right there and watch them turn your paper waste into shreds till it is no longer recognizable and usable, even by professional data thieves’ standards. You can watch professional mobile shredding services in LA do their job and confirm how well they have done it.
The whole point of all this is making sure that your law firm is not only in line with the correct handling of clients’ personal documents in paper form but disposing of these papers in such a way that shows professionality, diligence, and integrity – traits a law firm should have in spades. This will ensure your current clients are retained for a long time yet.