Businesses across the UK could inadvertently be risking confidential information by inappropriately disposing of sensitive information.
According to Recycle Now, the UK plough through 12.5 tonnes of paper each year; 67% of which is recycled. SMEs across the UK have been taking various steps in order to reduce their carbon footprint including using recycle waste bins.
However, many businesses do not realise that leaving confidential information in unsecure recycling bins increases the risk of a security breach by data thieves according to information destruction company Shred-it.
Businesses throughout the UK should adequately dispose of paper documents as a serious data breach could result in up to a £500,000 fine.
Assessing the security risk
Shred-it found that the typical life-cycle of paper within an organisation are typically subject to a minimum of six security risk points – including sitting in an unsecure workstation bin and being left in clear plastic bags outside offices – before being destroyed.
Executive Vice President at Shred-it, Robert Guice, said: “Recycling is a growing priority for UK companies but many do not realise that they’re leaving their confidential information exposed to fraudsters by using unsecured recycling processes.
“Every stage of this heightens the risk of businesses suffering from a damaging information security breach, reputation damage, significant financial penalties and exposure to fraud – the risks just aren’t worth it.
Risks of leaking confidential data
Many businesses are tightening their grip on eco-changes but in the process are losing sight of adequate data security.
Earlier this year, the NHS were in hot water regarding bags of documents found in a public recycling bin in Coventry. This put hundreds of patients’ private and sensitive data at risk and caused significant reputation damage for the healthcare Trust involved.
In 2012, a local authority faced a £250,000 fine for employee records found dumped in a supermarket recycling bin.
Guice, added: “By simply combining recycling and secure shredding services, organisations can improve the security of confidential data and meet their environmental targets.”
Have you neglected data protection in your quest to go greener? Let us know in the comments section below.