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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.

3 Tips for Managing Your Digital Information

July 25, 2017

Keeping track of your digital information can be a challenge in today’s complex business world. Storage capacity keeps growing, regulatory requirements continue to expand, and cyber security threats are on the rise. We know your business faces these challenges too, so today we’re sharing our three tips for managing your digital information:

1. Back Up Regularly

Data loss can happen any number of ways, from malicious viruses and unexpected power interruptions, to accidental file deletion, to natural disasters. Having a regular backup schedule keeps your most important files protected. Whether backing up your data to hard drive or tape, we recommend implementing a regular backup schedule and following it rigorously.

Set up a tape rotation schedule including with an offsite media storage solution so you can perform daily, weekly and monthly backups and keep them safe.

2. Maximize the Life of Your Storage Media

One of the few drawbacks of offline backup is that the process of writing and rewriting data onto storage drives and tapes gradually wears down the media until it begins to have data errors or can’t store any new information. The usable life of storage media like tapes is also greatly impacted by a number of environmental factors, including:

• Temperature
• Humidity
• Air quality

Excessive heat, cold, moisture and dryness, as well as dust and dirt particles can all permanently damage or destroy backup storage media.

Fortunately, under the right conditions with careful monitoring, the life of backup tapes and drives can be extended significantly. Look for a climate-controlled data protection facility with fully-automated climate control, waterless fire protection, and monitored security systems. 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.

3. Destroy Your Data the Right Way

Destroying your data is a critical component of information management—it helps keep your inventory and records management costs manageable, and reduces your risk of privacy and compliance breach by eliminating the possibility those records could be compromised. Unfortunately, many businesses put their data—and the entire organization—at risk during the disposal process.

This risk comes about because deleting or reformatting a backup storage device doesn’t completely remove all data. There are several methods and tools to recover data from “erased” digital media that are readily available to anyone with dishonest intentions.

To protect against information theft, a media destruction service physically destroys your media so it’s completely unreadable. On a set schedule, a mobile hard drive shredding truck arrives at your business and background-screened technician shreds your media on-site. The barcodes and serial numbers of each shredded device are recorded and you are given a Certificate of Destruction for your records.

Use these information management tips to help keep your data secure, accessible and easily recoverable. You’ll be glad you did!

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

5 Things to Look For In a Document
Storage Company

May 26, 2017

things to looks for in document storage companyIf you’ve decided to invest in offsite document storage, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step towards true records management. The next step is finding the right document storage provider. Here are five things to look for:

1. Security

Security should always be at the top of your checklist when choosing a document storage solution. Your records and files contain confidential information that, if stolen and misused, could spell trouble for your business.

Look for a records center constructed with solid concrete floors, walls and ceilings. It should be built to withstand extreme weather and natural disasters. Only background-screened and uniformed records management professionals should be allowed inside. The outside and inside of the facility should be continuously monitored with surveillance systems. When visiting the records center, you should be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

2. Compliance

Besides keeping your records safe, your records storage requirements are driven by an alphabet soup of regulations, including:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
  • The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA)
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLP)
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

As a result, you want a records storage company who understands the regulatory landscape. Verify whether your provider offers its employees compliance and data breach notification training.

3. Technology

Document storage is more than putting a box of files on a shelf. Having access to the right technology speeds up access to your information and gives you the ability to control the accuracy of your records identification data. As a result, seek out a records storage company that offers you a direct link to their tracking database. This way, you have the ability to see what you have stored offsite, request items, view reports and even edit record information based on your retention requirements.

4. Bundled Services

If you need to store your documents, there’s a good chance that you may also need to digitize and destroy them. A records storage company that offers bundled services saves you money and serves as a single source for all your records management needs. As a result, you get a turnkey solution for your records from cradle to grave.

5. Community Commitment

Why choose an independent, locally-owned records storage company? Because its owners and staff care about your community. These are people who live and work in your town and are invested in creating strong, genuine and long-lasting relationships with their customers. In short, you know and trust the people storing your documents.

Use these five criteria as a road map for choosing the right document storage provider.

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

Answers to the Top 5 Document Storage Questions

April 25, 2017

Hand up with open palm on blue background. Stop concept.As records management experts, every week we are asked many questions about document storage. Naturally, some questions are asked more than others. Here are answers to five of the most frequently asked document storage questions:

Where is the safest place to store my documents?

Customers who store confidential patient records, financial files and other sensitive documents want to know their information is safe. Records centers are a better option for document storage than warehouses, self-storage facilities and even your own office for several reasons. First, a 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. Second, inside the facility, climate-controlled systems ensure temperature and humidity levels are constant. Advanced fire detection and prevention technology eliminates fire hazards. And third, a records center is continuously monitored 24/7 to prevent unauthorized access. Only screened and uniformed records management professionals are allowed inside.

When I store my documents offsite how quickly can I access them?

Quick access to your documents depends on where you store them. If you have your records stored in a self-storage facility, you need to drive to the facility and search through boxes. If your records are stored in your office in file cabinets, it may be a bit faster to retrieve them—if you can find what you’re looking for. In either scenario, you have to put other tasks on hold while you find a document.

Storing your documents in a records center allows you to pinpoint your documents quickly and with minimal disruption to your day. Secure online access allows you to request files anytime from anywhere. With just a few clicks, you can request delivery of your documents within a few hours or in just a few minutes with a Scan on Demand service.

How are my documents managed in a records center?

It’s one thing to store your records, but managing them effectively is a another thing altogether. When you store your documents in a records center, each file or carton is barcoded. Record management professionals index your files to your meet your compliance, governance and retention needs. Specialized software tracks each inventory item. Records management systems are designed to have a 100% find and retrieval rate so you always know exactly where your information is located and can access it easily.

How cost effective is a records storage service?

Unlike a self-storage facility, where you pay a monthly fee for a storage unit, at a records center you only pay for the amount of storage space you use. And because the rate per cubic foot is less costly than your office space, a record storage service is cheaper than storing your documents in-house too!

Do all of my boxes have to be the same size to store them in a records center?

Just because building plans, legal files and medical records aren’t 8 ½” x 11” in size, that doesn’t mean you can’t store them in a records center. Specialized shelving and storage compartment configurations handle every conceivable shape and size of records—from those that must lay flat, to the ones that are best stored upright. Whether your records are stored in containers that are square, rectangular, triangular or round, you can rest assured they will be protected and managed the same as documents stored in a traditional sized storage box.

Do you have a question that isn’t one of our top five? Give us a call; we love answering questions!

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

Everything You Need to Know about
Paper Shredding

March 29, 2017

Paper shredding is a broad topic, including everything from privacy protection to document recycling to regulatory compliance. It’s no wonder we receive three or more paper shredding questions each week! To help you understand the topic better, we’ve provided answers to your most frequently asked paper shredding questions.

How are shredded documents recycled?

After your documents are shredded, they are baled and turned into paper pulp to produce a wide variety of business and consumer products. However, not all document shredding providers bale their own paper fiber; some ship it overseas to a third party. To keep your costs low and information safe, choose a shredding partner with a bailing operation.

What does NAID AAA certification mean?

National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) AAA certification is proof that your shredding provider meets the highest industry standards for the onsite destruction of confidential documents. In order to achieve NAID AAA certification, a shredding company must pass unannounced, ongoing audits that assess many aspects of operation, including these:

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

Using a NAID AAA certified shredding provider ensures unrivaled privacy protection for your information.

How does onsite mobile shredding work?

Onsite mobile shredding begins with the delivery of secure collection containers to your business, at no charge to you. When your containers are full, a screened and uniformed shredding technician collects the contents and immediately destroys the documents at your business location with a mobile shredding vehicle. You are then given a Certificate of Destruction noting the date and time of destruction.

How is outsourced shredding different from in-house shredding?

Outsourced shredding is more efficient and reliable than in-house shredding. Mobile shredding trucks can destroy hundreds of pounds of documents in minutes. The same amount would take several hours with an office paper shredder. Plus, with outsourced shredding you never have to worry about paper jams and other time-consuming maintenance issues.

Outsourced shredding by a trusted and qualified partner is also more secure than in-house shredding. Where an office shredder might only shred documents into strips, outsourced shredding uses Pierce & Tear and Hammermill technologies to reduce documents to miniscule particles so they are impossible to recognize.

What is drop-off shredding?

Drop-off shredding is a document destruction solution that allows home and small business owners to protect themselves and their personal information from identity theft and fraud. At their convenience, they can drop off confidential documents to an approved drop-off shredding location for secure destruction.

Can non-paper items be shredded?

Yes. In fact, information security experts recommend that businesses destroy any expired digital media that contains sensitive data. Physical destruction of outdated hard drives, back up tapes and mobile devices is the only way to ensure data cannot be compromised.

Is shredding of business information required by law?

Yes. Several well-known federal regulations, including HIPAA, FACTA, SOX, and GLB, require businesses to securely dispose of client, financial and protected health information. Failure to comply with these laws can result in stiff fines and penalties.

Now that you’ve learned all about paper shredding, we hope you have a better understanding of how it’s done and why it’s important. If you have a question we haven’t answered here, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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

8 Strategies to Prepare for an Office Move

January 31, 2017

Many organizations find it daunting to prepare for an office move. Moving employees, systems and equipment is risky, as so many things can go wrong. The following strategies will help you put your mind at ease so you are well prepared for your office move.

Plan Early

A successful office move benefits from solid planning; don’t wait until the last minute to start. If you want to schedule a move during the summer, keep in mind it’s the busiest time of year for move services providers. As a result, you may need to schedule your office move several months in advance.

Appoint a Move Coordinator

Whether it’s you or a key staff member, someone in your organization needs to serve as an internal move coordinator. That person will need to prioritize tasks, assemble supporting vendors and serve as the primary contact person for your company during the move. As a result, they should be organized, and have excellent communication and decision making skills.

Create a Budget

It’s vital to have a clear account of your office move costs. Create a budget that includes your relocation expenses. The costs to consider include:

  • Moving company expenses
  • Existing office cleaning and repairs
  • Lease termination penalties
  • Increased staff hours
  • Cleaning
  • Technology upgrades

Also, be sure to set aside money to cover any unexpected expenses.

Hire a Mover

Since there are many pieces to a successful office move, you’ll want to hire an experienced moving company that can ensure your business relocates quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively. A qualified provider will offer a thorough analysis of your relocation needs and offer a full range of move services.

Schedule

You want your office move to go as smoothly as possible. Although moving on a weekend offers the advantage of minimizing employee and customer disruption, key managers may not be available to monitor the relocation process. As a result, it may work best to schedule your move on a weekday. The actual day(s) of your move will depend on your specific business needs.

Purge

Only move the items that absolutely must go to your new office location. Before your move starts, use a one-time shredding service to purge out-of-date documents and files. Secure collection containers are brought to your office at no charge. When filled, they are collected by screened shredding professionals and destroyed onsite while you watch.

Archive Offsite

Naturally, you want to optimize productivity and profitability at your new office. After you’ve purged your unwanted files, keep clutter under control by using a records storage service to store your inactive business records offsite. Your archival inventory is barcoded and securely stored in a records center. You can then request your files online and have them hand delivered or sent electronically to your new office at any time.

Transfer Services

Before your furniture is unloaded, disconnect phone, internet and utility services at your old office location and transfer them to your new one. Also, notify your customers, vendors and suppliers of your move.

As you can see, an office move involves much more than moving desks from point A to point B. Follow these tips to make your relocation as smooth as possible.

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

With a Scanning Service, Going Paperless
Is as Easy as 1-2-3!

January 26, 2017

If time and money are dissuading you from going paperless, don’t worry, you have another option for achieving your goals. A professional document scanning service eliminates the cost and inefficiency of a do-it-yourself approach to imaging your files. Here’s how a scanning service can help you go paperless in several easy steps. 

Document Preparation

If you’ve ever started a scanning project in-house, you might not have made it past the document preparation phase, which is a time-consuming and laborious process. Fortunately, with a scanning service, trained technicians do all document preparation for you. First, they organize and prepare your documents for imaging. During this phase all staples and paperclips are removed, and any torn or tattered edges are repaired. A barcode is placed with each file, creating a verifiable record of which box it came from and linking it to a database for the indexing stage. Then, each page is straightened and aligned for imaging. 

Imaging

Next, each document is imaged with a high-speed scanner and converted to an electronic file. You can choose which file format best suits your needs: 

  • PDF
  • TIFF
  • PNG
  • GIFF
  • JPG

The images are inspected as they are scanned to ensure accuracy and readability. 

Document Indexing

Immediately after scanning, each image is indexed. The barcodes used during the document preparation phase are used to earmark, group and categorize your information to your exact specifications.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

During this phase of scanning, a software application is applied, making the text searchable in your scanned and indexed files. In essence, OCR lets you pinpoint information within your digital files by typing keywords and phrases. 

File Delivery

After OCR, your newly-created digital files are ready for delivery. At this point you have several options: your files can be electronically merged into your preferred document management or electronic content management (ECM) system or saved to a DVD or portable hard drive. Your original files can be delivered back to your facility or shredded. Make sure your scanning provider has been NAID AAA Certified for paper shredding to keep your information secure.

Quality Control

Last, but certainly not least, is the quality control phase. Quality control happens during every phase of a professional document scanning process. During scanning, technicians monitor images as they are created. Random checks ensure image integrity. Any scan that doesn’t meet quality benchmarks is re-scanned and inspected again. In short, quality control is the thread that holds the entire scanning project together.

As you can see, with a professional scanning service, going paperless is easier than you think!

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.

Countdown to Document Security and Compliance in 2017

December 22, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time to look forward to the new year. As a business owner, you may have already laid the groundwork for 2017. If not, it isn’t too late to include document security and compliance in your plan. Here we share tips and best practices you can implement.

Clear Out the Old

Over the course of the year, you’ve likely accumulated a pile of unwanted paper receipts, statements and correspondence. Disposing of these paper records allows you to make room for new documents in 2017 and ensures you meet state, federal and industry-specific privacy standards. Use a NAID AAA certified shredding service to eliminate old, expired and unwanted files safely and quickly. Locked collection containers are delivered to your office at no charge and professionally shredded onsite when they are full. You are provided with a Certificate of Destruction as proof of your compliance with the regulations that affect your business.

Make Room for the New

Even after clearing out the old, you’ll still have some business records that must be kept indefinitely, including:

  • Contracts and agreements
  • Employee and personnel files
  • Tax records
  • Financial documents

These should be properly organized and stored in a secure location. A commercial records center offers a cost effective and secure document storage and management solution. Your documents are stored in a facility that adheres to the strictest compliance and security protocols. Solidly constructed with concrete floors and equipped with state-of-the-art fire protection and intrusion systems, they protect and preserve your archival and vital records for the long term. Box and file level indexing services are offered to keep your retention inventory organized. Advanced records technology collates all indexed information and tracks your documents with bar codes so you can order files any time with secure online access.

Go Forward in the Digital Age

In many industries, document scanning is now recognized as a requirement to meet compliance with state, federal and industry regulations. An experienced and trusted document scan services provider can help you control the cost of converting your active business records to easily accessible electronic documents. Specially trained imaging technicians use high-speed scanning equipment to digitize your hard copy files quickly and to your exact specifications. Any information you need to keep for compliance purposes can be now be accessed and shared digitally, and stored safely away.

With an integrated destruction, storage and scanning solution, you can move forward into 2017 with confidence!

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

No Disrespect Indended

July 9, 2013

Emotions run high at Sandia Associates when a simple suggestion to improve data security is misunderstood. Avoid the conflict and keep your confidential information secure by hiring a NAID-certified vendor today!

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