6 Ways To Protect Your Business From Data Breaches in 2017

6 Ways To Protect Your Business From Data Breaches in 2017

6 Ways To Protect Your Business From Data Breaches

download now

It may not be incredibly surprising, but identity fraud is the number one fraud in Alaska!
It seems like every week we’re hearing about another security breach at one of those big companies. Well those breaches are certainly big issues, but breaches can happen to companies of all shapes and sizes. And it can happen right here in Alaska too!
This ebook is designed to provide you with tips you can use to protect your business from a potential data breach.
Here are the chapters.

Topics Covered

1. How To Implement A Clean Desk Policy
Are papers left all over your office? Improper removal of documents in the office can lead to potential identity thefts and breaches. Here is how to implement a policy to fix the issue.
2. How To Train Your Employees About Phishing Scams
Your employees are your most valuable assets and hackers know it. Train your employees on ways to protect themselves and your company when it comes to one of the biggest issues in identity theft: phishing scams.
3. How Legal Compliance Can Affect Business Security
Legal compliance helps you figure out where you may need to make improvements to the way you handle your business data. Here is what you need to know.
4. New Ways Companies Are At Risk For Security Breaches
The security industry is always changing. Here are some of the recent ways that hackers have attacked businesses. By learning how it happens you can better prepare your business.
5. How To Setup A Paper Shredding System For Your Business
In this chapter you’ll get a process for setting up a secure paper shredding system for your business. Once this system is in place and becomes habit, your business will be more well protected from a potential breach.
6. Data Security Checklist
In the final chapter you’ll get an opportunity to evaluate your organization and see where you can improve you data breach exposures. Use this checklist to implement a secure Paper Shredding System for your Business. Chapter 1. How To Implement

Next Steps

The path to protecting your business from data breaches doesn’t end here. If you’re like most business owners and managers you’re incredibly busy. You know you need to protect your business, your employees and your customers from the fallout of a data breach. You don’t have to go at it alone.
Contact us at Shred Alaska today and we’ll help figure out the best plan for protecting your business.
Shred Alaska: (907) 929-1154

Subscribe to our Shred Alaska Monthly Newsletter

We will provide all up to date information on shredding events, ways to keep your information, and how effective our recycling efforts are.

Document Shredding — a Sure Way to Safeguard Information

Safeguard-Information

Document shredding is a front-line defense against inadvertent release of confidential data. In today’s litigation-minded society, even a minor breach in the security of personally identifiable information can lead to a costly lawsuit. Or it could severely damage the reputation of your business with equally costly fallout. In the case of your proprietary business information or trade secrets, it could negatively impact your competitive standing.

Safeguard Information

Confidential information is often compromised because documents are not properly secured and eventually destroyed. The surest means of guarding against your documents falling into unauthorized hands is through document destruction and subsequent recycling of the paper waste into pulp to be reused in new paper production. Since most businesses are not equipped to implement effective document destruction procedures — nor can they afford the personnel commitment required for carrying it out — third-party shredding services have proven a popular solution.

Professional shredding services will provide you with the means to secure your documents that are awaiting destruction, pick up or shred the documents onsite on the schedule you set, and securely transfer the shredded waste to a recycling facility. Not only is this a best practice in document security, it also is a “green” solution that benefits the environment by reducing the number of trees consumed on paper production.

Your business should develop a document destruction policy that specifies the minimum and maximum retention periods for your documents and a system for administering the policy.

Determining your schedule for calling on shredding services depends on several considerations:

  • Regulatory guidelines that specify retention periods.
  • Contractual requirements with customers, clients or other business partners.
  • Accommodation of additional restrictions arising from audits, investigations or litigation; statutes of limitations may also play a role.

Your records retention policy must include safeguards against inadvertently destroying documents that could be required in a civil or criminal action. In addition, the policy should clearly delineate responsibilities and identify the types of documents that fall under its control.

Several state and federal laws require strict security over personal information and in many cases specify severe penalties for noncompliance. In addition, class-action lawsuits are a very real threat to violators. Proper shredding of documents is a critical step in compliance. Among applicable federal laws are:

  • HIPPA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accessibility Act applies primarily to the heath care industry with strict guidelines for protecting sensitive patient data.
  • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act —requires financial institutions — banks, insurance companies, securities firms, etc. — to safeguard personal financial and to have a written security policy that includes properly destroying documents.
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act — requires all businesses to destroy documents containing consumer information so that they cannot be reconstructed or reread.

In developing your policy for document security, it is a good idea to keep these best practices in mind:

  • Limit access — allow as few employees as possible access to documents containing confidential information and ensure they are fully trained in your procedures; employee carelessness or misconduct can be the source of information leaks.
    Shred everything often — include all documents that might contain confidential information in your destruction policy and shred them often to avoid accumulating documents; this also helps guard against miscalculations by employees as to what should be destroyed.
  • Audit your policy on a regular basis — review your policy frequently to identify shortcomings and areas for improvement; update the policy as often as needed.
  • Shred before you recycle — do not count on recycling to protect your confidential information; although recycling will ultimately result in destruction of the documents, they are subject to many unsecure stops long the way; even shredded documents in the recycling pipeline should either be secured or mixed with enough other waste to make reconstruction virtually impossible..
  • Employ professional shredding services — retain a reliable provider who will provide complete security for your documents to be destroyed, from the moment you have moved them into the destruction cycle; your business is probably not armed with the equipment or the properly trained staff to handle this process in house.

Remember, safeguarding confidential information is more than just a best practice, it’s the law. Secure document shredding services help prevent information security breeches to save you time, expense and reputation.

Whether your company needs corporate paper shredding, industrial paper shredding, recurring shredding service, shred bins, shred services or hard drive destruction, Shred Alaska is your premier document destruction company in all of Alaska.

Get In Touch

How Much Does Identity Theft Cost Consumers?

Identity Theft Cost

Nearly two dozen people become victims of identity theft each minute. It is a serious problem that is on the rise as thieves steal information and use it to their advantage to get quick cash. The victims of this growing problem are left dealing with maxed out credit cards or an overdrawn bank account. You may be surprised to learn how much it is costing consumers in the United States.
Identity Theft Cost

 

How Is It Happening?

It has become easier for hackers to get personal information from the consumers. They often gain access to private information by using spyware, and some of the schemes are more advanced than others. There are thieves who go out of their way to pay for their own website and even make it look like the real deal, but it is only a fraudulent website used to trick people into submitting their personal information. Women and men see that the site looks legitimate and then they trust putting in their information because they think they are purchasing something. However, the hacker gets that information as soon as it is entered into the system and he or she will use it to their own advantage, ultimately ruining the other person’s credit.

There are people who have been tricked by fake anti-virus programs. The programs look like they are real, but they are only designed to steal information. Those who decide they are going to buy the software to keep their computers protected may use their credit card to pay for it. Hackers will then take the credit card information and use it to steal the money of their innocent victims.

Identity theft is happening at local malls as well. There are hackers who are adding magnetic strips to card readers to steal the numbers and details on credit and debit cards. Shoppers are beginning to worry about using these cards to pay for their merchandise. In fact, 10 percent of the consumers who live in the United States have already fallen victim to these horrible schemes.

The Price Victims Pay

You may assume that the banks and credit companies offer to handle cases like these, but it does not always work that way. There are people who do not check their accounts regularly. Those who catch the fraud a little too late are the ones who usually suffer. They could end up having to pay up to $500 just to cover some of the charges made with their credit cards. It is for that reason that everyone should pay close attention to their accounts. Some banks offer to send text messages whenever there is any kind of account activity taking place. It would be wise to sign up for those text message alerts to keep an eye on your own accounts.

Paying hundreds of dollars is one thing, but it does get worse for some people. Hackers who have social security numbers may be able to open all kinds of accounts in the individual’s name. They could apply for loans and literally destroy credit that belongs to someone else. It may take the victim several years to rebuild their credit score and overcome this serious problem.

Ways to Keep Yourself Protected

Limit your online purchases. Storing some of your credit cards on various websites is one of the worst things you could ever do online because it makes it easier for people to get your information and use it. Security breaches can and will happen when companies least expect them. Target and Sony have fallen victim to hackers in the past, so you can imagine it is something that could happen to just about any other company in existence. There were thousands of consumers who had their personal information stolen from those hackers due to the security breaches. In fact, numerous lawsuits have been filed by consumers because of what happened.

Follow some of these additional tips to keep yourself protected against identity theft:

  • Try using cash as often as you can.
  • Head over to the bank to pull your cash out instead of using the ATM.
    Avoid using your credit or debit card at gas stations where the card readers are located outside instead of inside the store. Those particular card readers are easier to target because they are not monitored as often.
  • Avoid using ATMs that are located outside of an establishment.
    Check your accounts daily from your computer or phone. It should only take you a few minutes to login and make sure there is no unusual activity going on.
  • Create an account on a free credit report website to receive updates on all of your credit cards at once.
  • Invest in a paper shredder. Use it to quickly get rid of any important documents that contain your private information.

Being cautious could end up helping you out in the long run because then you would notice if there was something suspicious going on right away.

Consolidate Your Shredded Material & Bring them to Shred Alaska

Determine your retail (walk-in) shredding drop off schedule based on your needs. Create a monthly or quarterly reminder in your phone for drop off. Retail (Walk-In) Shredding is easy and convenient. With hours to serve our retail customers that are convenient. We will shred your hard drives or paper documents while you wait. Want to understand How Retail Shredding Works? or What Can I Shred?.

Taking Action If It Happens To You

Most people worry that it could happen to them. Identity theft is something that happens to people of all ages, so you should never assume that you are completely safe. There are a few steps you can take if you think you are the victim of identity theft.

Start by contacting your bank and all of the credit companies. Let them know what is going on. Make them aware of any transactions that may have been made under your name without your permission. Cancel all of the cards you have and order replacements. The replacements will come with new numbers and CVV codes.

Ask the banks and credit companies about loss protection. Each one may offer some form of protection so you do not end up losing a lot of your money. You may even want to make a request to have a fraud alert flag added to your accounts. The creditors will have a warning that there may be someone else using your information.

Millions of people have their identities stolen by hackers each year. The victims of the theft often end up paying close to $500, but some end up paying way more than that because of what the hackers have done to them. Money is not the only thing they lose out on. The victims also lose out on a sense of security because they know someone is out there who has their private information.

Document Retention Schedule

Document Retention Schedule.This schedule helps to define the policies of data and records management for your business. (Periods noted are only meant as guidelines and are not to substitute legal advice. You must do your own research and determination as to the appropriate periods for you and your business.]
document-retention-schedule

Read more about privacy compliance laws that govern these guidelines. You can also read more about Data Storage Records Disposal, and Security Breach Laws.

Document Type Description Retention Period
Accounting and Finance
Accounts Payable/Recievable 7 years
Annual Financial Statements and Audit Reports Permanent
Bank Statements Reconciliations & Deposit Slips 7 years
Canceled Checks – routine 7 years
Canceled Checks – special such as loan repayment Permanent
Credit Card Receipts 3 years
Employee/Business Expense Reports/Documents 7 years
General Ledger Permanent
Interim Financial Statements 7 years
Contributions/Gifts/Grants
Contribution Records Permanent
Documents Evidencing Terms of Gifts Permanent
Grant Records 7 yrs after end of grant period
Corporate and Exemption
Articles of Incorporation and Amendments Permanent
Bylaws and Amendments Permanent
Minute Books including Board & Committee Minutes Permanent
Annual Reports to Attorney General & Secretary of State Permanent
Other Corporate Filings Permanent
IRS Exemption Application (Form 1023 or 1024) Permanent
IRS Exemption Determination Letter Permanent
State Exemption Application (if applicable) Permanent
State Exemption Determination Letter (if applicable) Permanent
Licenses and Permits Permanent
Employer Identification (EIN) Designation Permanent
Employment Personnel and Pension
Personnel Records 10 yrs after employment ends
Employee contracts 10 yrs after termination
Retirement and pension records Permanent
Insurance
Property D&O Workers’ Compensation and General Liability Insurance Policies Permanent
Insurance Claims Records Permanent
Legal and Contracts
Contracts related correspondence and other supporting documentation 10 yrs after termination
Legal correspondence Permanent
Management and Miscellaneous
Strategic Plans 7 years after expiration
Disaster Recovery Plan 7 years after replacement
Policies and Procedures Manual Current version with revision history
Property – Real Personal and Intellectual
Property deeds and purchase/sale agreements Permanent
Property Tax Permanent
Real Property Leases Permanent
Personal Property Leases 10 years after termination
Trademarks Copyrights and Patents Permanent
Tax
Tax exemption documents & correspondence Permanent
IRS Rulings Permanent
Annual information returns – federal & state Permanent
Tax returns Permanent

download list

There is no better way to ensure you are fully compliant. Our recurring service offers multiple container and scheduling options to meet your specific needs. Contact us anytime for a free, no obligation in office secure information destruction policy consultation, performed by one of our NAID AAA Certified document destruction specialists.

Whether your company needs corporate paper shredding, industrial paper shredding, recurring shredding service, shred bins, shred services or hard drive destruction, Shred Alaska is your premier document destruction company in all of Alaska.

Get In Touch

Josephine’s Dream Scholarship

josephines-dream-banner

Here at Shred Alaska, we have the opportunity to be a small part of a bigger community. One beyond our own families and friends. One that stretches beyond the ins and outs of “tipping bins” as we call it, or shredding paper. Every now and then we come across individuals that impact our lives in ways that are unforgettable. Ada, and her daughter Josephine, are two of those people.

Ada has shown unrelenting kindness and care to our Shred Alaska family, over a long period of time. Her smiling face always greeting us on our scheduled shred days at Pediatric Neurology. You see, Ada pours over her cookbooks, monthly, to decide what treat she will bring those days. Just to be a ray of goodness to us….the shred guys. She doesn’t realize the appreciation we feel towards her as she takes the time to think of others before herself. We hope that our gesture here, reminds Ada, just how important it is that Shred Alaska continues to connect, support, and uplift where we can.

In a moment of deep sorrow Ada became a beacon of light and kindness in a world that all too often is void of such gestures. So let us give back to her daughter and her cause by introducing the legacy of Ada’s daughter, Josephine.

Josephine's Dream

June 19th, 2016

It was a beautiful summer solstice weekend in Alaska and throughout the nation.

Summer solstice spoke to Josephine on a spiritual level and so she went out to enjoy the festivities happening in our city. At this point in Josephine’s life her demons had been baiting her almost constantly and Josephine tried to fight them away with alcohol, requiring more and more to get her through each day. As the sun was setting, an inebriated 22 year old fashionista wanted to be closer to the sky to get an unobstructed view of the sun setting. Josephine made her way to the top of a 7 story building, barely able to stand. She climbed her way onto the railing taking in the beautiful sight, her spirit feeling full; the demons at bay for the time being. It was in that moment alcohol and demons pushed Josephine off the railing where her body fell and her spirit rose. Her friends and family will never again be able to hear her laugh, or see her smile as she walked through the door. The hundreds of lives she touched are now missing a vibrant light in their heart. The dreams Josephine had to incorporate her love of helping animals and her love of massage would be unrealized. The world became a little less bright the day alcohol and depression took Josephine’s life.

Please read Josephine’s story here. Or the news story discussing Josephine’s Dream on ADN.

We ask that you please take the time to be a beacon of light on behalf of Ada and Josephine’s Dream. It’s our goal that everyone who supports Shred Alaska, and our “shred family” knows about the opportunity to donate to this amazing family and cause. Alaska can be a difficult place to live and we have to support where and when we can. The small and the large opportunities. Take them, when you see them.

Josephine’s Dream will provide scholarships to worthy students (graduating high school seniors or post-secondary students) pursuing a career in animal care, focusing but not limited to veterinary programs and certificates. The application is open to students from middle-income families, who are not likely to receive financial aid from other sources. The scholarship is open to students from all states, although Alaskan students will be given preference.

To donate to Josephine’s dream, please click the link below. If you wish to make a donation less than $25 or to donate via check or cash, please contact us at:

The Alaska Community Foundation
3201 C Street, Suite 110
Anchorage, AK 99503

907-334-6700

Please make checks payable to: “The Alaska Community Foundation” and write “Josephine’s Dream” in the memo.

Security Risks of Paper Document Storage

Paper Document Storage

The need for paper document storage, is not going anywhere anytime soon. Even with the onset of paperless technology options, paper is still widely used. This is the reason it is essential that organizations secure a document through its entire life cycle. Utilizing a few techniques can greatly protect an organizations responsibility to remain compliant.

Paper Document Storage

Document handling come under strict regulations of consumer privacy. Many laws and acts are in place to protect a consumers right to have documents and personal information handled in a protected manner. If businesses fail to comply, hefty fines and legal action may come into play. A number of public document mishandling have been recorded over the past few years:

It’s quite alarming that large organizations such as these are falling into the trap of mishandling paper documents, which is why it’s crucial that as a small business owner you have safety nets, and processes in place. A few ways your organization can avoid this trap are:

Limit Access to Documents

Not every one within your organization is required, nor should have access to confidential information of your customers. Personnel that are required to have access to this information should be monitored at all times. Decide what level of access is required by each employee and develop a secure access plan implemented and maintained on all levels of your company.

Offsite Secure Storage Facility

Storing necessary documents offsite will add an additional layer of protection to the storing of personal data. However, determining what and when these documents are stored offsite will have to be developed with a strategy. The downside of offsite storage is the need and response time for accessing this information.

Leaving stored documents endlessly in a locked storage facility however is also not the answer. Have a scheduled checks and balance to ensure these documents are securely purged once they have exceeded their time of relevance.

Secure Destruction of Unneeded Documents

After the life cycle of paper documents have expired, it’s time to efficiently and securely destroy the document. Take into consideration protocol and legal responsibility involved in how these documents are destroyed. Hiring a NAID AAA Certified organization to destroy your documents, is the safest bet.

Shred Alaska can provide in office, locked and secured “shred bins” for your office. This allows for added security between storage and the moment of shredding. The secure bins provide added protection against any unfavorable individual obtaining these confidential documents. Once the bins are picked up for destruction, they are destroyed on site and do not leave the grounds of your facility intact. There is no opportunity for loss, or damage since the destruction of all materials is handled immediately.

Our shredding and hard drive destruction services are essential to the security of businesses within South Central Alaska. Businesses store a lot of client and customer information in paper files on-site and offsite  and in order to maintain security it is important to ensure that this private information does not fall into the wrong hands. While we offer premium shredding services that are NAID AAA certified, the truth is that offices are filled with paper documents that are vulnerable to being lost or misplaced, being stolen, or being accessed by the wrong people. Make sure to contact Shred Alaska to obtain a Business Evaluation as well as we can help you establish a logical “shred all” policy for your business.

 

NAID AAA Employee Requirements | Secure Shredding Services

Secure Shredding Services

In today’s world, no-one can be too careful about the destruction and disposal of sensitive information. The sad truth is that it is all too easy for a stranger to rifle through your garbage bins and obtain documents that contain highly personal information, such as bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers and other identifying information.

secure-shredding-services

To make matters even more complex, we live in an age where a lot of this sensitive information is also retained on computers. This means that whenever a computer is upgraded, sold, or thrown away, the hard disks that contain the personal information are vulnerable to being stolen. Without proper destruction, the personal information on those hard disks can be retrieved intact in many cases through the use of special software.

Every year in the United States, around 15 million people have their identities stolen. This results in huge financial losses for those people involved and causes fear to spread throughout communities. This is exactly why we recommend that everyone ensure that their most sensitive information is shredded or otherwise destroyed.

We are proud to have been the first document destruction company in Alaska to receive NAID Certification. What this means is that we adhere to all processes and procedures outlined by the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) to ensure that our destruction services meet strict information disposal standards.

NAID AAA certification also means that all of our employees have met strict employment screening processes to ensure that they can be trusted to handle your very personal and sensitive information. We don’t employ anyone with a criminal record; all of our staff follow stringent security protocols; personal documents and hard drives are only accessed by authorized personnel at any given time; and all of our employees follow strict chain of custody procedures when handling personal materials.

You Can’t Be Too Careful With Your Personal Information!

Choosing us to destroy your documents or your hard drives means that you can rest easy in the knowledge that we are NAID AAA certified, and that our employees are as careful as possible with your personal information. Choosing us also means that you are at far less risk of identity theft, financial loss, or having any of your personal information stolen.

We take pride in the fact that we not only offer our customers a way to simply walk in to our secure facility and have their documents shredded, but that we also maintain a fleet of trucks that can travel to any location in Southcentral Alaska and shred documents on-site. We think that you’ll be more than happy with the security and shredding services that we offer.

For more information on what we shred and what types of documents you really should have shredded and destroyed, click here

Shred Alaska provides on-site shredding services, walk-in retail shredding, one-time file purge services and fully monitored hard drive destruction. Shred Alaska is here to partner with you to ensure your Data Storage Records Disposal is where it needs to be!

Cook Inlet Housing Authority Client of the Month – September 2016

Cook Inlet Housing Authority

Cook Inlet Housing Authority

Proud to announce Cook Inlet Housing Authority Client of the Month September, 2016!

An exceptional organization that empowers community and people to create the best of what Alaska community has to offer, our neighborhoods! Cook Inlet Housing provides affordable opportunities for individuals and families to secure home ownership or rentals. The cornerstone of their core values are set in compassion, innovation, honesty and accountability. All qualities that support the vision of Shred Alaska and our document destruction services as well.

We are excited to share in an ongoing project spotlighted in recent months in the the ADN. Cook Inlet Housing Authority, broke ground in July on a $10million three-story residential and commercial building. Read the store here.  They are developing this property in a portion of Spenard that has been scattered with derelict buildings for years. We are so excited to see this new 33 one-bedroom apartment building being erected. This property will provide 36th and Spenard with a new “gateway” neighborhood to revive the area.

cook-inlet-housing-authority

Their slogan of “Promoting Independence Through Housing” is evident in the work they do. With Alaska Family Rental Properties, Senior Rental Properties, and various Homes For Sale you’re sure to see their contribution to housing all over Anchorage. CIHA also provides great community and volunteer opportunities through their Resident Engagement programs that include computer labs, libraries, daily transport support, and senior lunch programs.

cook-inlet-housing-flowers

Check a Recent Trees Saved and Energy Saved Project!

Cook Inlet Housing Authority is a superb example of how to live and love Alaska! They also understand the importance of continuing to hold their operations to the highest level of security and accountability. It is for this reason that CIHA has chosen to partner with Shred Alaska and we are grateful for this ongoing partnership. Their commitment to protecting residents sensitive documents and recycling that waste is seen throughout their organization! We appreciate their ongoing commitment to Alaska recycling efforts!

The graphic below represents a large one-time purge service that was needed by CIHA. Shred Alaska hauled it all up, staged it, shredded it, and recycled all materials.  They simply stickered the boxes that were ready with our “to be destroyed” sticker (free) and we handled the rest!  

cook inlet housing authorityA special thanks to this amazing Alaskan non-profit organization for allowing Shred Alaska, Inc. to work side by side to ensure that we are honoring the residents of Alaska, our community and neighborhoods as well as our environment.

Does Your Non-Profit Organization Need Alaska Commercial Paper Shredding?

If you are an Alaskan non-profit organization, such as Cook Inlet Housing Authority and need shred bins for your office, or need a one-time purge service of stored documents, contact Shred Alaska today to set up an initial consultation. Check out our A+ Better Business Bureau Alaska rating,our recycling stats! Shred Alaska is a premier document destruction service that is NAID certified.

Shred Alaska also offers one-time purge services for organizations storing boxes and files that need to be destroyed. We offer an easy and effective way to purge unwanted files. Our document destruction services, protects your patients from any security exposures in a regulated and efficient manner. Contact us today for an on-site quote.

Come partner with Shred Alaska and Read more about this our client that is making dreams come true! Visit their site at cookinlethousing.org or like their page on facebook!

 

 

Guide to Household Document Shredding

Household Document Shredding

Retail (Walk-In) Shredding provides individuals and small businesses convenient drop off service. Here’s a quick Guide to household document shredding and a few items that you may not have thought about when shredding household items.

Pick up your FREE nylon shred bag to take home to collect these items. When it’s full, bring it back and we will shred your documents while you wait.

Retail (Walk-In) Shredding Hours
Monday – Thursday 1pm to 6pm ; Friday – 10am to 4pm
Location: 801 East 82nd Ave #B1


Shred Alaska provides on-site shredding services, walk-in retail shredding, one-time file purge services and fully monitored hard drive destruction. Shred Alaska is here to partner with you to ensure your Data Storage Records Disposal is where it needs to be!