For businesses of any size, shredding is a hassle. Every company has discarded information that needs to remain confidential, but the legal mandates for maintaining privacy are so strict that we grow to resent the need to render documents “unrecognizable or beyond reconstruction.” It leaves us wondering who's rooting through our trash and if our current shredding work is enough to guard against someone with enough free time and plenty of Scotch tape. There's time to spare for such paranoia, as feeding papers into a shredder is far more dull than anything involving loud, destructive machinery has any right to be.
It is, however, a vital part of business and must be given proper consideration. The problem isn't that shredding is necessary. Companies open themselves up to identity theft, lawsuits and corporate espionage when the job isn't done. The problem is that failing to properly address a company's unique shredding needs is a waste of time and money. For example, one popular and easy solution is off-site shredding, where another company picks up your documents and shreds them for you. Not only can that be expensive, how secure can you really feel when something that you are responsible for destroying leaves your offices intact? If anything goes wrong, you're still on the hook for it.
Shredding documents internally offers peace of mind and is more affordable, but only if the shredders you purchase are suited for your needs. An insufficient shredder means that employees will spend far too much time feeding papers, emptying bins and dealing with jams. A low-end model that can be tossed under a desk for an individual to use isn't going to cover an entire department.
This buying guide helps you find the shredder that offers not only the right level of security for your business, but also the number of sheets that can be shred at a time. For a cross-cut shredder, units that can accept 10 sheets are fine for individual desks and households, 12-14 sheets are recommended for small offices, while larger offices and departments should use shredders that can handle 20-30 sheets at a time. Micro-cut shredders, which create very small particles and may be required for destroying extremely sensitive information, accept fewer sheets per pass.
To really save on labor, consider Swingline's Stack and Shred model, where up to 100 sheets can be inserted into the machine, which will lock them inside and shred them while an employee can go back to work. Other innovative options that may appeal to you are the strong high capacity shredders from Martin Yale's Intimus line, the jam prevention features developed by Fellowes, and the GoEcoLife series of shredders that are both functional and environmentally friendly.