Data destruction

March 2012 Security Services & Risk Management, Integrated Solutions

South African businesses and industries that deal with personal information should use Data Privacy Day – an international awareness day aimed at educating governments, businesses, industries and citizens on the importance of protection of personal information – to review their document destruction practices as this is often an overlooked, yet crucial, aspect of data protection.

This is according to Gianmarco Lorenzi, CEO of Cleardata – a group company of JSE listed Metrofile – who says the destruction of a physical record containing personal information, including copies of identification documents, physical addresses and banking details, must be done in a manner that prevents its reconstruction in an intelligible form in order to avoid falling victim to severe financial, reputational and legal repercussions.

“Shredding of unwanted documents remains the most effective way for businesses and industries to practice document reconstitution.”

Lorenzi advises that sectors including government, banking, medical and financial should be most vigilant when disposing of documents containing personal details due to the massive amounts of personal information they deal with on a daily basis.

He says it is ironic that most businesses will spend thousands of rands protecting their electronic data through the use of firewalls and high-tech information security, but will let their paper leave the building in the hands of a stranger. “Apart from the legal consequences, it simply makes good business sense to protect your clients’ personal information in order to maintain good relations and a strong client base,” says Lorenzi.

Lorenzi says the majority of large South African companies are starting to realise the importance of responsible disposal of documentation. “This is as a result of pressure from international parent companies, increased awareness of the risks involved in failing to shred documentation properly and the recent ‘green’ movement, focusing not only on reducing carbon emissions, but also on the recycling of paper.”

Lorenzi recommends businesses should ensure that they use only reputable document shredding companies that have been certified by the National Association for Information Destruction (www.naidonline.org).

Visit www.cleardata.co.za for more information.





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