Document Security? Why? by D. David Dugan
Why should document security be so important to me? What exactly is it anyway? These are just a couple of questions you might
have when someone mentions document security to you. With today's technology, thieves are getting smarter and attacking both
large and small businesses.
Where it used to only be financial institutions, security firms, and those working on government contracts that had to worry about
document security, now it involves everyone. Even if you don't own a company, document security is important to you as an
Ever hear the phrase, "One man's trash is another man's treasure"? Well in today's world, your trash is treasure to identity
thieves, con men, corporate spies, forgers, blackmailers, and others. What you throw in the trash can get you ripped off.
Identity thieves today can find information on documents, bills, canceled checks, and other items that you throw away. Sometimes
they use that information to apply for credit cards in your name and other times they can simply use technology to make a
duplicate of the credit card you already have. Most stores don't even check ID when taking a credit card, so once a duplicate is
made, they are in business.
Con men need only to learn a little bit about you in order to cook up some scheme involving you. The personal information in your
letters, bills, and other documents can give them all they need to con you into believing they are someone other than who they
really are. The personal information they obtained from your documents enhances their story to make it believable.
Forgers enjoy the documents you throw away even more, since you probably signed some of them and they now have a copy of
your signature. However, copying your signature is not the only definition of forgery. They can take canceled checks and make a
new checkbook with all the proper numbers. They can forge other documents and do a lot more damage than you might think.
Corporations make big money. Not everyone who works for or runs a corporation can be trusted to be ethical, as we have seen
with all the recent scandals involving big corporations. Some corporations use spies to learn what their competitors are up to.
This is so common today, that some don't even think it is unethical. They see it as a business necessity.
That means document security for your corporation is now a business necessity you have to take very seriously, if you haven't
already done so. Your competitors may not hesitate to obtain documents from your company in any way possible. They may use
bribes, go through the trash, have the trash hauled to them directly, or simply sneak in and take them.
This is not just some stuff from a spy novel. Corporate spies get paid big money for the information they can get from the
documents they can steal or find. You have to take document security seriously, especially where your plans will only be
successful if kept secret until you can legally protect them. If it involves intellectual property, document security is even more
Don't think this leaves you out if you only own a small business. If your ideas are patentable, copyrightable, or trademarkable,
then your document security is important as well.
Even if you don't plan to patent, copyright, or trademark anything, your financial document security is still very important. A thief
knows as a small business owner, you probably don't have very good security for your documents. Some thieves especially target
small businesses because they are much easier targets.
Well, now that you know document security is important for various reasons, what do you do about it. How can you be sure you
have a good plan for document security and document disposal?
There are several options for you, each depends on your specific circumstances. There are companies that are specifically in the
business of document security for large and small businesses. They actually come to your business and do all the shredding
and document disposal. This is one of the most convenient ways of being sure your documents are destroyed properly.
Is document disposal all I need to know about document security? The answer is no that is only the beginning. It all depends on
what type of company you run.
Do you allow your employees to take sensitive documents home with them? Do you allow them to photocopy anything they want
with no record of what they copied? If you are a financial institution, do you use new Pantograph methods for your documents?
Many of the old Pantograph methods no longer stop today's thieves from copying your sensitive financial documents.
There is a lot more to document security than just shredding documents and disposing of the material securely. I plan to address
more of those methods in future articles about document security. In this article I just wanted you to see that everyone needs to
take document security seriously.
D. David Dugan helps maintain a Spyware Security site at http://spyware.dugancom.com and recommends using All Star
Shredding http://www.allstarshredding.com for you paper shredding and document destruction.
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