|The BSIA's ID Section members are responsible for safely and securely destroying confidential waste|
The BSIA's Information Destruction (ID) Section will be celebrating its tenth anniversary during the Total Workplace Management (TWM) exhibition at London Olympia (11-12 October). A decade on, the ID Section remains very much at the forefront of best practice and industry standards, when it comes to the handling and disposal of confidential waste, and the work of its members ties in with the specific obligations of organisations of all types and sizes under the Data Protection Act.
Today the BSIA ID Section has over 40 member companies who between them are responsible for safely, and securely, destroying in excess of 300,000 tonnes of confidential waste each year, an impressive feat by any measure. To put this into perspective the waste processed by BSIA ID Section companies is equivalent in weight to 15 of the Royal Navy's Invincible class aircraft carriers. The type of sensitive waste being disposed of is extremely varied and includes: paper, DVDs and IT equipment such as computer hard-drives and related media. Alongside this, the Section's members are also responsible for destroying items that could, potentially, be problematic should they fall into the wrong hands, for instance branded products and uniforms which are now surplus to requirements.
To underline the professional approach BSIA ID Section members take to the way they do business, and information destruction in particular, all members must adhere to a strict code of ethics and comply with security requirements set out in the European Standard EN 15713, including site security, material specific shred sizes, recording the destruction process and the vetting of staff to BS 7858. In addition, all BSIA companies are required to be ISO 9001:2008 accredited.
The selection of an appropriate information destruction provider is undoubtedly a critical issue for organisations given the fact that identity fraud alone is estimated to cost the UK economy £1.7 billion annually. The BSIA's ID Section advises that great care should be taken in this area. Unfortunately, a number of organisations who have outsourced their information destruction have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous providers only finding out, at a later date, when sensitive data is exposed, that hard-drives they thought were wiped, or documents shredded, had not been processed professionally but simply sold-on, dumped with normal municipal waste, or disposed of through fly-tipping.
Comments Russell Harris, Chairman of the BSIA's Information Destruction Section: "We are delighted to have reached the major milestone of ten years since the formation of the ID Section. Sadly the challenges of secure information destruction that were evident back in 2001 have not gone away. Given the exponential growth in the type, and format, of confidential information which needs to be disposed of, the imperative to adopt a best practice approach to avoid data falling into the wrong hands, and to ensure compliance with measures like the Data Protection Act, has never been greater."
"The good news is that awareness levels of the need for vigilance are at an all time high in light of a number of widely reported data breaches, with the NHS and the financial services sector especially in the spotlight given the personal nature of the data they hold. We are also seeing strong action being taken by the Information Commissioner's Office to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act. For our part all ID Section members have to meet rigorous criteria to be eligible to join. We also offer guidance on the selection of Information Destruction providers and this year hosted a key breakfast briefing for senior trade association staff on the issue and, following this in June, held our second Information Destruction Exhibition and Conference in Birmingham."
"At a wider environmental level BSIA ID Section members are playing a pioneering role in implementing sustainable waste management strategies. One award-winning scheme run by a member company, involving closed loop recycling and information destruction, has to date resulted in 325 tonnes of paper shredded and recycled, 5,514 trees saved and 729m3 of waste destined for landfill avoided."