It’s not always easy to determine what types of documents are confidential and which ones can be safely viewed by the public. This goes for personal documents and those belonging to a business. In broad terms, there are three classifications of documents that should remain confidential through all stages of their existence.
Documents Containing Personal Information
Any documents that contain personal information such as addresses, names, phone numbers, or financial information need to be kept private. This can be your personal information at home or employee/client information for an organization. This information can be used to identify individuals and therefore should only be accessible to people who have authorization. To keep personal information away from the eyes of the general public, it is essential that documents containing this type of information are securely disposed of when no longer needed.
Internal Procedures, Office Plans, Office IDs, ETC.
Any documents that relate to the running of the office, such as floor plans and internal procedure manuals, should be kept confidential, even when the versions become outdated. This information can still be damaging if it gets into the wrong hands and it is simply better to protect it rather than deal with some unexpected consequences. Any information that can tell the public about the specifics of an office need to be kept confidential at all times.
Contracts and Commercial Documents
Contracts are one of the most confidential document types that a business can have. These lay out the terms of an agreement between multiple organizations and give specifics on finances, names of participating members, and the value of the products/services outlined in the agreement. Both the initiating organizations and any third parties should all work to keep this information secure; if a paper copy of these documents ends up in unauthorized hands, the entire contract could be nullified.
Whether you are responsible for the security of an organization’s sensitive documents, or you just want to keep your own personal documents safe and secure, a paper shredder is the best way to retain the confidentiality of documents that need to be recycled.