Data Breach Liability and Your Business

March 27, 2018

As a business owner, you’re obligated to protect your employees’ and customers’ personal information. That responsibility just got bigger. A recent circuit court ruling makes it more likely for your business to be sued if personal information is lost, stolen or compromised. In this blog, we discuss the specifics of the ruling and its impact on your business.

Liability Law Concept 3D Illustration

CareFirst Data Breach

CareFirst, a healthcare insurance provider based in Maryland, experienced a cyberattack in 2014 which resulted in the breach of 1.1 million customer records. Like many breached organizations, CareFirst offered the affected individuals free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a period of two years. A class action lawsuit was later filed on behalf of the victims. The lawsuit contended that CareFirst’s negligence substantially heightened the affected victims risk to identity theft.

In 2017, after a U.S. District Court judge decided that the plaintiffs failed to prove how they had suffered harm from the breach and dismissed the claim, a U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the District Court’s ruling. The Court of Appeals judges ruled that the CareFirst members’ risk of future injury was sufficient to allow the class action lawsuit to proceed.

As a result, in January 2018, CareFirst asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, arguing that if the decision made by the Court of Appeals was allowed to stand, companies can be sued for breaches of customer information “even if the plaintiff suffered no harm whatsoever.” However, the Supreme Court refused to hear CareFirst’s case, allowing the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling to stand.

Implications for Your Business

The implications of the CareFirst ruling have a broad impact on businesses across the United States. Data owners who have their information breached can now sue businesses or institutions without having to prove actual loss or damage.

What does this mean for your business? It means that it’s never been more important to protect the information you collect from your clients and employees. Create a strategy that ensures secure storage and final disposition of hard copy paper documents and electronic media. Partner with a records and information management provider who can provide a turnkey solution for protecting your data throughout state-and federally-mandated retention periods. Make a plan for adhering to breach reporting and consumer notification rules and regulations. Use a breach reporting service that offers the following benefits:

  • Incident response planning
  • Customer breach notification per legal mandates
  • Ongoing monitoring

The CareFirst court ruling is a wake-up call for big and small businesses, and you can use it as an opportunity to refine your data protection strategy.

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our records and data services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

Inside a Scanning Service

December 21, 2017

Person Using A Document ScannerAre you considering going paperless, but not sure of how a scanning service works? In this blog post, we offer an inside look at a professional scanning service.

The Scanning Facility

A scanning facility is a busy place with an assembly-line atmosphere. Preparation, sorting, indexing and imaging stations enable organized processing of documents by uniformed, screened scanning technicians. Multiple scanners of different sizes allow multiple, customized document scanning projects to occur simultaneously.

Since the scanning facility handles confidential and sensitive documents, it must be secure. State-of-the-art surveillance systems record all activity, authorized visitors must show identification and sign a confidentiality agreement, and secure loading and unloading areas allow discreet delivery of documents to and from the scanning facility.

Document Preparation

The first step of a scanning project is preparing documents for imaging. All staples and paperclips are removed from files. Torn and dog-eared pages are repaired. A bar code separator sheet is placed within each file to create a verifiable record of which box it came from and link it to a database for the indexing phase. Imaging can only begin after each document has been prepared.

Document Imaging

The imaging phase of scanning involves converting paper documents to digital files. Each page of a file is fed into a high-speed scanner, which processes hundreds of pages per minute. Depending on your preference, your documents are converted into PDF, TIFF, PNG or JPG digital file formats. Each image is inspected as it’s scanned to ensure it meets strict quality control standards. If necessary, documents will be re-scanned.

Indexing and OCR

Following the scanning phase, each image is indexed at a workstation. The barcodes used during the document preparation phase are used to earmark, group and categorize your information to your exact specifications. Specialized optical character recognition (OCR) software is then used to make the text in your imaged documents searchable. By typing keywords and phrases, you can quickly find specific data within your digital files.

Quality Control

Although quality checks are administered during every phase of a scanning project, a final verification ensures every document is captured, indexed and processed by OCR software. If not, the process is repeated.

Post-Scanning Handling

Depending on your business needs and retention requirements, your paper documents are shredded, stored or delivered back to you. When outsourcing the storage and/or shredding of your documents, make sure to choose a qualified, NAID AAA Certified provider.

Secure Data Delivery

Depending on your preference, your digital images can be transferred to a portable hard drive, transferred by secure FTP, or uploaded to your document management or enterprise content management (ECM) system.

Knowing how a document scanning service works helps you go paperless with confidence!

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our scan services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

On-site vs Off-site Shredding: What’s the Difference?

December 13, 2017

Salesman in doubt standing in front of two arrows on blue and red background conceptWhen it comes to protecting your clients and employees from identity theft and making sure your company complies with state and federal privacy laws, shredding is a must. As a result, there’s no shortage of document shredding providers willing to destroy your information. But with so many options, it can be hard to settle on one. The first thing you should consider is whether a provider offers off-site or on-site shredding. In this blog, we explain differences between the two.

 Off-site Shredding

With off-site shredding, your unwanted documents and files are collected from your business and transported to a shredding plant for destruction. A strict chain of custody is maintained while your documents are collected, transported and destroyed. You can have your provider deliver secure collection containers to you in advance of your shredding project. A screened, uniformed driver collects the documents from your filled containers and transports them in a GPS-tracked vehicle to the shredding plant. At the shredding plant, your documents are shredded into tiny particles. The shredded material is baled and recycled regionally. At the end of off-site shredding you’re given a Certificate of Destruction documenting the time and date of destruction.

On-site Shredding

On-site shredding, also known as mobile shredding, offers the same security and chain of custody of off-site shredding with one exception: your documents are destroyed at your business. At an appointed time, a specially-designed mobile shredding vehicle arrives at your office. The screened driver collects your documents and shreds them on the spot. As with off-site shredding, you are provided with a Certificate of Destruction.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between an off-site or on-site shredding service is a matter of preference. However, when you choose a National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA Certified shredding partner, you know that whether your documents are being destroyed off-site and on-site, you get the highest level of security and ethics in the industry. This is because for a shredding company to earn NAID AAA Certification, it must pass unannounced, ongoing audits that assess many aspects of operation, including:

  • Employee screening processes
  • Insurance requirements
  • Written security policies and procedures
  • Certified proof of shredding processes

If you’re more comfortable watching your documents be shredded, then on-site shredding is the right choice. If you’re short on time and prefer having your documents destroyed off-premises, then off-site shredding is for you. With a NAID AAA Certified shredding provider, both options offer a reliable privacy protection solution.

DeVries Business Services proudly offers off-site and on-site shredding services to businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our data protection services, please call us at 509-838-1044 or complete the form on this page.

Answers to the Top 4 Records Storage Questions

November 29, 2017

Woman with pensive facial expression looking aside while sitting at workplace. Unsure businesswoman thinking about difficult question. Female office worker doubted because of uncertain situationEvery business looks for ways to keep their confidential records secure and increase efficiency. Records storage companies offer solutions for accomplishing both of these things. Here are the answers to the top four records storage questions we’re frequently asked.

Q: Why should I store my documents in a record center?

A: A records center provides long term protection and preservation of your records. It’s solidly constructed with concrete floors, walls and ceilings, so your documents are protected from disasters. Advanced fire detection and prevention technology eliminates fire hazards within the building, while state-of-the-art security systems prevent unauthorized access to your documents and files. Only background-screened records management staff can access the records center; these highly trained professionals index, manage, retrieve and deliver your records inventory.

Q: I have non-standard size records. Can I store them in a records center?

A records center can store every type of document and file, including:

  • Legal documents
  • Medical records
  • Architectural and Engineering drawings

Shelving and specialized storage compartment configurations are tailored to your storage needs. So whether you have building plans in tubes, or x-rays and microfilm, your records are protected and preserved.

Q: How can I be sure my records are available when I need them?

A: Your records are barcoded and scanned for transfer to a records center. The retention information and details of each box and file is added to a records management database that lets you track everything you need to know about your records inventory. Secure, 24/7 online access to your inventory allows you to request your records anytime. The boxes you request are scanned when they leave the records center and are delivered to you, so there’s never any doubt about where your records are at any given time.

Q: What should I look for in a record storage provider?

A: Look for a records storage provider who is experienced, dependable and trustworthy. They should be active in records management trade associations and non-profit organizations. Ask your prospective provider for client references so you can verify their ability to serve businesses like yours.

Locally-owned records storage companies offer distinct advantages over national or global providers. They are operated by individuals who live in your community and partner with other local businesses and organizations on local community initiatives and events. Plus, you’ll have a direct line of communication to an account manager who will understand your unique records storage and management needs.

The answers to these questions will give you the insight you need to ensure your records are safely stored and accessible when you need them.

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our records storage services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

Answers to Your Data Protection Questions

November 17, 2017

questions answers road signIt’s no surprise that there’s a lot to know about data protection. We’re asked questions daily! In order to help you implement a solid data protection plan for your company, we’ll answer your frequently asked questions in this blog.

Q: How often should I back up my data?

A: As often as possible. A regular backup schedule keeps your most important files protected. Combine daily, weekly and monthly backups to protect your data from ongoing threats and to ensure data restoration at any point in time. Implement a routine and stick to it.

Q: What data should I backup?

A: First, identify the files and applications that are most essential for keeping your business running. Next, decide how long you could afford to be without them. Your vital business records may include:

  • Financial and tax records
  • Contracts and Agreements
  • Client and Customer Lists
  • Personnel records

Q: Where should I store my backup data?

 A: It’s important to store your backup media in a facility that protects it from fires, floods, natural disasters and unauthorized access. Look for a climate-controlled data protection facility with fully automated climate control, waterless fire protection, and monitored security systems. In a data protection facility, screened data protection professionals manage your media, ensure wear is evenly distributed on each device, and take old tapes and hard drives out of service before they fail. Your media is available to you at a moment’s notice to support your disaster recovery and data recovery procedures.

Q: I have old backup tapes. How do I safely get rid of them?

A: Data protection doesn’t end with the final disposition of your digital information. Tossing old tapes and hard drives in the trash harms the environment and exposes your company to identity theft and business fraud.

Use a media destruction service to dispose of your data securely and in an environmentally friendly manner. On a set schedule, a mobile hard drive shredding truck will arrive at your business, and background-screened technicians will shred your media on-site. The barcodes and serial numbers of each shredded device will be recorded and you will receive a Certificate of Destruction for your records.

Q: How do I limit data breach threats to my business?

A: Along with proper storage and timely destruction, making regular backups of your data is the best way to limit data breach threats to your business. To assess your company’s risk and compliance with state and federal privacy laws, invest in a breach reporting and readiness service. Data protection experts monitor and audit data breach threats for you, train your staff on privacy protection practices and implement breach notification protocols for your company.

If you have a data protection question we haven’t answered here, give us a call. We love answering them!

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our data protection services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

Did You Know Your Business Could Be Sued The Day after a Data Breach?

October 19, 2017

Litigation and lawsuit stress concept as a lawyer or attorney metaphor and plaintiff anxiety symbol as a law scale damaging a human icon as an impact due to legal issues of the courts or being sued and investigated as a 3D illustration.No business owner wants a lawsuit filed against their company. Litigation costs alone can bankrupt your organization. Unfortunately, a recent court ruling has made it easier and faster for your company to be sued. Read on to find out the details and, most importantly, how to protect your business.


 Several weeks ago, the fast food chain, Sonic, acknowledged a breach affecting an unknown number of store payment systems. It was yet another incident in a recent stream of high-profile breaches that include Equifax and Yahoo. But what makes this incident different is the fact that the day after Sonic reported the breach, a class action lawsuit was filed against them.

How was this possible? In a landmark ruling, a civil action suit against a healthcare entity that fell victim to a database hack affecting 1.1 million people was allowed to proceed after the judge ruled that the theft of personal information, health care records or other confidential information, created a risk of identity theft, thereby causing harm to the victims. Previously, the suit had been thrown out because the victims had no proof that harm was caused until identity theft actually took place. This latest ruling establishes that harm is caused by the mere risk of identity theft, even if no theft or financial loss ever takes place.

Data Breach Impact on Your Business

We’re living in a new world now, where your business can be sued overnight in the wake of a data breach. Whether your network is hacked, a backup tape goes missing, or confidential paper documents are stolen, your business is immediately at risk. Without a proper prevention strategy, your business could suffer catastrophic losses and even be forced to close permanently.

What to Do

These recent events should serve as a wake-up call for your business. Seek the help of a records and information management provider who can provide a turnkey solution for helping protect sensitive documents and data. Areas to focus on include:

Look for a partner who also offers a data breach readiness and reporting service and can guide you on best practices for ensuring privacy law compliance, information security, and prompt incident response.

It may be impossible to completely prevent all data breaches, but as the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our information management and data privacy services, please call us at 866-433-4691 or complete the form on this page.

10 Things to Know about Records and Information Management Services

September 28, 2017

Things you should know text written over colorful background.Are you considering having your documents and data professionally stored and managed? If so, here are ten things you should know about the very best records and information management (RIM) services. If you’re looking for a RIM provider, look for these important features:

1. RIM Professionals Receive Extensive Training

Trusting someone to handle your information isn’t easy. RIM professionals receive extensive training in HIPAA and HITECH compliance, disaster recovery planning, data breach notification, and much more. They are familiar with state and federal privacy laws and industry best practices that affect the retention and final disposition of documents and data.

2. Individual Files Can Be Barcoded

A RIM service not only barcodes your document storage boxes, they can also barcode your active files. Each file can receive a unique identifier and is scanned and tracked at every point during its retention lifecycle. This gives you the ability to have even individual, active files professionally managed.

3. Records Centers Are Built to Preserve and Protect Documents

Unlike a self-storage facility or warehouse, a state-of-the-art records center is designed exclusively for the protection and preservation of documents. Solidly constructed with concrete floors, walls and ceilings, it’s built to withstand extreme weather and natural disasters. Only background-screened and uniformed records management professionals are allowed access to the records center. Inside the facility, climate-controlled systems ensure temperature and humidity levels are constant. Advanced fire detection and prevention technology eliminates fire hazards, while state-of-the-art security systems prevent unauthorized access.

4. Offsite Storage Is More Cost-Effective Than In-House Storage

Leased office space is expensive. When you combine the cost of using office space to store your records with paying your employees to manage files, profitability takes a hit. Your documents can be stored and professionally managed in a secure records center at a much more affordable rate.

5. Your Documents Can Be Delivered Anytime

Did you know that with a full-service records and information management service, your documents and data are always available, even on weekends and holidays? Emergency courier services ensure seamless access to your information 24/7/365.

6. Not All RIM Companies Are NAID AAA Certified

For a professional shredding company to earn NAID AAA Certification, it must pass unannounced, ongoing audits that assess many aspects of their operation, including:

  • Employee background screening processes
  • Insurance requirements
  • Written security policies and procedures
  • Certified proof of shredding processes

Unfortunately, not all RIM companies that offer shredding services are NAID AAA Certified. Remember this when choosing a records and information management partner.

7. Not Every RIM Company Bales Its Own Paper

 Many RIM companies offering shredding services, then ship their shredded fiber to China and Mexico to get top dollar for it. This practice could put your information at risk. To prevent any chance of your information falling into the wrong hands, partner with a RIM company with its own baling operation. Ask whether your shredded paper will be recycled locally by a trusted partner.

 8. Some RIM Companies Outsource Document Scanning

Like companies who outsource the baling and recycling of shredded paper, a company who outsources the scanning of your confidential and proprietary records puts your business at risk.Have your documents digitized by a RIM provider who does the job themselves, keeping your records inside their facility during the scanning process.

9. Magnetic Media Is Sensitive to Environmental Factors

It’s true: even minor temperature and humidity fluctuations can permanently damage tapes and hard drives. So if your backup media isn’t stored in a data protection facility with fully-automated climate-control systems, you may lose valuable data. A records and information provider with a climate-controlled media vault can protect your valuable data for the long term.

 10. Old Digital Media Should Be Destroyed

Your digital media should be destroyed with the same vigilance you use when storing it. Deleting or reformatting a backup storage device doesn’t completely remove all data from all devices. If you’re serious about protecting your data, invest in a media destruction service.

When choosing a records and information management partner, keep these important factors in mind.

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

5 Ways Offsite Document Storage Beats Self Storage

September 22, 2017

Gold light lamp bulb font number 5 Five. Sparkling glitter design in style of vegas casino, burlesque cabaret and broadway show decoration. Shining numbers symbols of alphabet set for light boardFinding a convenient, affordable and secure place to store your documents isn’t always easy. And many business owners think self storage is their only–or only affordable—document storage option. If you’re one of them, reading this article may change your mind. Here are five ways offsite storage beats document storage:

1. Convenience

There’s nothing more inconvenient and frustrating than driving to a self storage unit and digging through boxes of files. Fortunately, offsite document storage offers quick and easy access to important business records. A secure online system lets you request documents from your computer for hand-delivery in a few hours or even faster by requesting Scan on Demand.

2. Cost

Why is offsite document storage more cost-effective than self storage? The answer is simple: the fee rate per cubic foot in a record center is less than in a self storage unit. Instead of paying a monthly fee for an entire self storage unit and leaving much of it unused, at a records center you pay only for the amount of storage space your file storage boxes occupy. Plus, you get the added value and security of having your documents professionally managed in a secure, climate-controlled records center.

3. Security

One of the biggest risks to any business is the theft of confidential documents. Offsite documents storage prevents unauthorized access to financial paperwork, personnel files, and other sensitive records. A records center has 24/7 security monitoring. Only screened and background-checked records management professionals can access the building. Visitors are required to show identification and sign a confidentiality agreement to enter the facility.

4. Retention Management

Strong retention management practices are essential to a successful business. Unfortunately, self storage doesn’t offer tools that help you manage your retention inventory. Offsite document storage tracks your records throughout their retention lifecycle, from storage to final disposition. Each carton and/or file is barcoded and tracked, and its retention data is added to a records management database. Specialized software lets you view your inventory and notifies you when it’s scheduled for destruction.

5. Disaster Recovery

A fire, flood or natural disaster can devastate your business. That’s why it’s important to have a secure, offsite storage solution for your documents and files. Unlike a hastily-constructed self storage facility built with corrugated metal, a records center is solidly designed with concrete floors, walls and ceilings. State-of-the-art fire and smoke detection and climate control systems offer additional protection, so if a disaster strikes your office, you still have access to your business information.

When looking for a place to store your business records, save yourself the hassle, expense and risk of self storage. Use offsite document storage to protect your business records.

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our records storage service, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

Inside a Professional Shredding Service

September 1, 2017

behind the scenes text on wooden signIf you’re concerned about protecting your clients and employees from identity theft and business fraud, you may consider investing in a professional shredding service. You may also wonder how outsourced shredding is different from in-house shredding. In this blog, we describe how a professional shredding service works.

How Are My Documents Collected?

When you invest in a professional shredding service, privacy protection begins the moment you discard your documents. Secure collection containers are delivered to your office free of charge. You choose from a variety of styles and sizes to find containers that best fit your office décor and document disposal needs. No matter which size or style you choose, collection containers allow you to securely deposit sensitive and confidential files without first removing staples, sticky notes and paper clips.

Where Are My Document Shredded?

You can choose either on-site or off-site destruction for the shredding of your documents. With onsite mobile destruction, a mobile shredding vehicle comes to your business and destroys your documents on premises. Offsite shredding offers the same unparalleled security with a slight difference. When full, your collection containers are emptied by a screened and uniformed shredding technician and the contents are transported in a GPS-tracked vehicle to a shredding plant for destruction. Both options offer a Certificate of Destruction noting the date and time of shredding.

What Happens After Shredding?

Where your documents end up after shredding depends on your shredding provider. Unfortunately, some shredding companies ship paper fiber to China and Mexico, which increases the risk of your private information being compromised. However, a shredding provider with its own baling operation maintains strict chain of custody during the entire shredding and recycling process. As a result, your shredded documents are recycled regionally and used to make a wide variety of paper products, including newsprint and even apple cartons!

Why Is NAID AAA Certification Important?

National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA Certification offers proof that your shredding provider meets the highest industry standards for the onsite destruction of confidential documents. For a professional shredding company to earn NAID AAA Certification, it must pass unannounced, ongoing audits that assess many aspects of operation, including:

  • Employee screening processes
  • Insurance requirements
  • Written security policies and procedures
  • Certified proof of shredding processes

Using a NAID AAA certified professional shredding company ensures your private information is protected.

If you choose to use a professional shredding service for the destruction of your sensitive business paperwork, you can rest assured that your documents will be safe and secure, you’ll have options for where they are destroyed, the shredded fibers will be recycled regionally, and in compliance with the highest industry standards.

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.

Answers to the Top 5 Document Scanning Questions

August 9, 2017

Document scanning is a hot topic these days. More and more businesses are realizing the benefits of converting paper records to digital images. With all the buzz, people ask us document scanning questions every day. Here are answers to the top five:

Q: What Are the Advantages Outsourcing My Scanning Project?

A: There are two big advantages to outsourcing your scanning project. First, professional document scanning saves you money and time. High-speed scanners and imaging software are very expensive. Outsourcing your scanning project eliminates the need to purchase expensive scanning equipment, train your staff how to use it, and push your core tasks aside to scan documents. The entire imaging and conversion process is handled for you. Second, since professional imaging technicians scan and check your documents, you know your digital documents will be error free.

Q: Which File Format Should I Choose for My Documents?

A: That depends on which formats you use in your business. TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) and PDF (Portable Document Format) are the most widely-used formats for scanned images. Your document scanning provider can convert your paper records to TIFF, PDF or a variety of other file formats for seamless integration with your document management application or enterprise content management (ECM) system.

Q: What Is Optical Character Recognition?

A: Optical Character Recognition, also known as OCR, is software that makes each scanned file searchable. OCR eliminates having to scroll through digital files and manually search for specific information because the system can find individual words within scanned documents. By typing keywords or phrases, you can pinpoint exactly the information you need.

Q: What’s the Difference between Workflow Scanning and Conversion Scanning?

A: Conversion scanning offers a quick approach for digitizing your documents. Whether you have a single file room or a whole office full of documents, the entire batch is converted to digital files. In contrast, workflow scanning offers a more gradual approach for digitizing your paper records. At regularly-scheduled intervals or when your documents are no longer active, paper documents are transferred to a records center for secure storage. Should you need one of these documents, it is converted to a digital image and sent to you. Workflow scanning addresses office-space constraints and lets you spread out your scanning costs.

Q: What Happens to My Original Documents after They’re Scanned?

A: That depends on your business requirements. If you need to keep your original copies, your scanning provider can offer an offsite storage solution. If you want to discard your originals, your scanning provider should offer to destroy them using a NAID AAA Certified destruction process.

If you have more document scanning questions, please give us a call. We love answering questions!

DeVries Business Services proudly serves businesses in Spokane, Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. To learn more about our scan services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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