Records management and confidential waste in the United Kingdom: an overview
In recent years, records management and confidential waste have become an important (and sometimes problematic) issue for British businesses.
Companies operating in the United Kingdom are subject to the regulations outlined by the Data Protection Act of 1998. Compliance with this act is not optional, and in fact, there are severe penalties associated with the breach or non-compliance of this piece of legislation. These are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and the penalties range from substantial fines (that may reach the £500,000 mark) to the closure of a business. Data leaks on confidential information can also lead to prison sentences.
Despite the potential consequences of non-compliance with data protection legislation, many businesses are finding its implementation particularly complex. Over the past two years, the number of companies that have been fined for breaches of the Data Protection Act has increased by an astonishing 238 per cent. This fact in turn has prompted the appearance of specialised companies that offer a range of records management and confidential waste handling services.
Confidential waste and record management solutions for British businesses
Engaging the services of a specialised record management company has numerous advantages. In the first place, these firms can help British businesses identify what is critical business information, something that may not be as straightforward as it seems.
Secondly, these companies can put their ample expertise to work by evaluating the needs of each particular business and by designing a range of personalised record management solutions. In doing so, they also help reduce exposure to litigation due to non-compliance, and strengthen a company’s reputation as a firm that cares about the confidentiality of its clients’ data.
Lastly, using the services of a record management company can help increase productivity and in-company efficiency. It is estimated that the average business spends 24 hours per week shredding and destroying confidential records, in addition to all the time invested in filing, archiving, and storing critical business information.
The most reputable record management companies offer a comprehensive range of services that aim to help companies comply with the current legislation while keeping information easily accessible 24/7. When it comes to confidential waste handling, record management companies can guarantee that all documents, CDs, DVDs, or other media containing confidential data will be destroyed permanently, securely, and in total compliance with data protection legislation. This is often guaranteed by means of a certificate of destruction, which certifies that corporate waste has been destroyed in total compliance with European Standard EN 15713:2009 and with British Standard 8470 at level 4, thus ensuring that documents cannot be recreated in any way.
Other services commonly offered by professional record management companies include active record management, scanning and digitising services, purging, indexing, and classification of documents, remote data protection, data backup and recovery services, secure off-site vaulting, data restoration, and cloud storage.
Record management and confidential waste: successful case studies
All types of businesses can benefit from the services provided by specialised record management companies. In the health care field, a renowned Irish hospital benefitted from a system that allowed the hospital to efficiently access and store over 100,000 patient records per year. A financial institution with global presence found a way of reducing the risk of identity theft and other types of fraud, thanks to the implementation of a system that offers enhanced data security and document destruction. After engaging the services of a record management company, an engineering firm found a way of systematising its archive and storage methods, which resulted in a substantial increase in productivity and in savings of more than £75,000.
To sum up, using the services of a professional record management and confidential waste destruction company can help all types of businesses achieve greater efficiency, lower operating costs, improved corporate reputation, and the peace of mind of knowing that they are in total compliance with current data protection legislation.
Nathan Morgan has been an IT professional for 14 years. His work is currently focused on Linux servers. He has encryption experience including the deployment of True Crypt and similar packages, and detailed knowledge of document scanning solutions to transform off-line archives into accessible digital data.