Common data breaches and how to prevent them

Scan Film or Store data breach blog postThe world has more information in it than ever before. A lot of it is fairly mundane – train timetables and Pink Floyd lyrics and what Sarah had for lunch on Thursday (thanks so much, Instagram). But there is also a lot of highly sensitive information, ranging from individuals’ address details through to launch codes that could destroy the planet.

Getting hold of this information is something the criminal element apply an awful lot of time and energy to. So we thought we’d look at some common ways you might be targeted – and the relatively simple steps to reduce the risk of being subject to a data breach.

Getting hacked because you haven’t put the necessary cyber protection in place

Antivirus? Check. Secure passwords with numbers and symbols and capital letters? Check. Memo to staff to not click on dodgy links that promise lottery wins and unlikely tax rebates? Check. Um…. next?

Protecting your organisation against a cyber attack is a complex process. We know, because we recently got certification under the Cyber Essentials Scheme and it was a heck of a lot of work proving that we really are as secure as we can be. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean we can help you prevent an internal breach but at least you know that if you entrust us with your data, it will be as safe as it is possible to be.

Leaving a bag of top secret government papers on the train

Yes, we know what you’re going to say – no one would be that stupid! But it’s happened in real life as well as fiction. Many data breaches happen as a result of human error so training is essential, as is putting processes in place that reduce the likelihood of documents falling into the wrong hands. In our case, we’re certified to BS10008:2014 standards, which are the same ones used by police when transporting evidence in a case so they can say for certain that it hasn’t been tampered with.

Having customer information nabbed out of the bins behind the office

Chucking confidential documents in the bin is not a good idea. And shredding them first isn’t good enough to prevent a security breach either. Anyone with decent eyesight and enough patience can piece those strips back together and retrieve the information they need. No, what you want is genuinely secure data destruction. We cross shred all confidential waste into confetti and then, for good measure, pulp it so there’s no chance of anyone reading it again.

Finding out your office cleaner is an international spy

No matter how good your internal checks and measures, if you’re giving any external suppliers access to your data then there’s a potential security issue. A data breach might be deliberate or accidental but the outcome is the same. Which means it’s vital that you know you can trust everyone from the office cleaner to the folks who scan your documents to help you create digital files.

Because of the nature of some of our contracts, we deal with information that is literally of national importance. Which means that not only are all our employees DBS and BS 7858 checked but we’ve also all signed the Official Secrets Act.

Getting held up as you transport documents ready for shredding

If you’ve invested a lot of time, energy and budget in creating a secure environment at your HQ then you’ll naturally be wary of creating the opportunity for a data breach by allowing classified documents off site. What if someone intercepts them? Of course, you might need them scanned or destroyed. In which case the answer is simple: get it done on site.

We’ve mobilised our operations so that if you have a high volume of scanning or destruction we can come to you. We can scan documents up to pretty much any size, cross-shred and pulp paper documents and even chip PC hard drives down to 20mm or 6mm. And you can watch the whole process, if you like that kind of thing.

If you have a concern about your data and you’d like to talk to one of our experts, get in touch today.

Document Scanning, Storage And Destruction: Expectations vs. Reality

Scan Film or Store - Expectations vs Reality blog postIf you’ve never used a document scanning, storage or destruction service then there’s a good chance you’ve got a few misconceptions about the whole process. We’re not saying you’re generally uninformed or anything, honest. But why would you know the ins and outs of what is, we’ll admit, a less than thrilling industry to anyone who isn’t in it, right?

So anyway, we thought we’d run through a few common misconceptions and then provide a little explanation of the realities so you’re better prepared. If it’s good enough for the Boy Scouts and all that…

Document scanning, storage and destruction is only for big corporates

This is a common misconception and one we’re really keen to break. Because yes, we work with some really large clients – clients we can’t really tell you about because we’ve all signed the Official Secrets Act. But we also work with family firms and charities and even individuals (remember the lady with the Tibetan manuscripts?) and we offer them the same high level of service that we do for the big guns.

Once you get my documents, I’ll never see them again

If you’ve never visited our Bridgwater HQ (and you’re welcome to, by the way) then you might imagine it as some secret underground bunker or even a slightly more professional looking Bat Cave where documents go, never to be seen again. But actually any documents you stored with us would be easily accessible. We barcode everything, you see, so it’s easy to find. And we can either scan documents and send you electronic versions if you need them, or get the originals over to you by our own vehicles or courier.

If I want to see one of my stored documents, I’ll have to wait ages

Ah there, you see, we’ve already covered this in the point above. In case you skipped that one, here it is again: we can either scan a document and whiz over via email or we can deliver it back to you or call in a courier. So really, you can have whatever you need within a few short hours, wherever you are in the country.

Data destruction is just about shredding things quickly and in bulk

A big fat nope on that expectation. Data destruction is an important business with serious security implications so even a super fast giant shredder isn’t good enough. We use a cross shredder that creates confetti rather than strips (which, as you’ll know if you watch enough CSI, can be painstakingly put back together if you’re really committed) and then pulp that confetti so it’s literally impossible to read. We can also chip PC hard drives, degauss computer tapes and incinerate microfiche and microfilm, which have a high burning point and can’t be dealt with in your average garden waste burner.

I’m going to have to make a system to store my scanned files

Well if you’ve got a large amount of files that need to be scanned then yes, a system will need to be made – but let us handle it. If we do say so ourselves, we’re pretty good at it. We can literally sort the whole scanning process, from picking up your documents to preparing them for scanning (taking out staples, separating individuals documents with separator sheets etc) then scanning and creating a digital filing system. We can even train up your team to use the new  filing system. Handy, right?

Once my files are scanned I’ll be able to throw them away

Well you can if you don’t need them. But if there’s anything confidential in them – and we don’t just mean the Colonel’s secret recipe; even simple things like customer details need to be handled carefully, especially with GDPR now in force – then you’ll probably want us to securely destroy any originals you no longer need. Alternatively we can store them at our secure storage facilities or return them to your premises.

You won’t be able to scan my documents – they’re huge

Ooh, we do love a challenge. Especially as we have a very snazzy Canon OCE large format scanner, which can scan up to A0 in width and pretty much any length. Got a stack of 40ft aircraft drawings you need as digital files? No problem, we’ve done it before. Want to scan your pet giraffe’s neck X-ray so you can share it on your blog? We can help and we promise not to mock (too much).

Document scanning is bad for delicate old books

Well yes, that’s true – if you try and stick them in the scanner you’ve got in the corner of the office. But we have a Book Eye Pro 4 scanner. It’s a pretty flash bit of kit that has a specially designed V plate which means the spines of delicate book don’t get damaged. And there’s even software built in to help flatten the image out and remove the, ahem, buttock crease. You know what we mean.

If you have any other potential misconceptions about document storage, scanning or destruction you’d like us to help you shed, give us a call today.

Need some help? Try our scanning calculator!