By meeting the requirements of POPI, businesses will not only be complying with legislation, but also adding value to their trade and earning the respect and loyalty of the consumers they market to.
The route to understanding the implications and preparing an organization for compliance with POPI means businesses will be in the market for a shredder.
While the basic design of a paper shredder is the same whether it is a desktop version or an industrial shredder, there are a range of considerations that businesses must take into account in order to get the right tool for the job.
When picking out a new shredder it must first be decided how much paper it can handle, what type of shred is needed, if it can handle materials other than paper, if it is a name brand and therefore carries a warranty, and most importantly, does it meet adequate security conditions required by the new legislation.
Most office environments end up shredding approximately twice the amount of paper they think they will after purchasing a shredder. A more accurate estimate of how many sheets will need to be shredded per day and how many sheets the shredder should be able to handle at a time is an important first question. A small personal paper shredder which may only be able to shred one to five pieces of paper at once, over 20 uses per day, will work for a small home office. A heavy volume industrial shredder can shred between 5 000 and 36 000 sheets of paper a day, depending on its configuration. The majority of SMEs see a need for somewhere in the middle; one which can shred 50 to 100 sheets of paper each day.
Most basic paper shredders use a strip cut system, which turns each sheet of paper into thin ribbons. High security shredders use a cross-cut mechanism, which twists the paper while cutting it, reducing it to small scraps. These are essential for handling especially sensitive material. In some cases, a shredder can handle more than paper; for example, diskettes, compact discs, cardboard or credit cards can also be shredded.
Most shredders only handle paper up to legal size. Ask your supplier for alternatives if you handle confidential material of tabloid size or larger.
The quality of the paper shredder and the warranty is important. Is the motor strong? How well it will hold up in the long term? What is the proper care and how can it be used most effectively?
Most shredders are referred to as straight cut, and consists of a series of blades that will slice through a document either vertically or horizontally. This can protect information from casual perusal, though it often is not enough for the privacy concerns of a business. Documents that are cut into uniform strips may be reassembled given enough time and effort.
Cross-cut shredders typically include perpendicularly opposed blades that can make a series of both horizontal and vertical cuts. This can result in thin, short shreds of paper that are difficult to obtain any useful information from. Confetti shredders work in a similar way and can reduce documents to tiny scraps of paper.
An even more secure method of shredding is referred to as micro cut, which results in pieces so small it would be nearly impossible to obtain information from them. Choosing the best type of cut pattern will depend on how important information security is to a business.