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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Secure Your Shredding

For years, companies have been routinely shredding physical documents to ensure that confidential and sensitive information doesn’t fall into the hands of competitors.  New technologies are making it increasingly easy to reconstruct virtually any document, and if you are worried about the security of sensitive material, you should know a little bit about document shredding and document reconstruction.

Shredders themselves come in two basic varieties, strip-cut and crosscut.

A strip-cut shredder cuts the paper into strips ranging from a quarter-inch to a half-inch wide.  Strip-cut machines are more popular because they are usually less expensive, tend to be quite durable and generally shred faster than crosscut models.

With crosscut shredders, documents are cut in two directions, producing very small particles.  Rather than cutting paper into strips, crosscut shredders reduce it to smaller particles—-resembling rectangular confetti and measuring approximately one-quarter inch by 1.5 inches—-and provide much more security than strip-cut machines.  Because the particles are so small, they are self-compacting, reducing overall bulk.

Cody Ford, president and CEO of Houston-based ChurchStreet Technology Inc., had observed the Enron Corp. financial meltdown when he was working at Enron as an IT consultant.  ChurchStreet’s proprietary Strip-Shred Reconstruction and Cross-Shred Reconstruction suites enable companies to have their shredded documents reconstructed.  With the exception of work done for government intelligence agencies, all client document reconstruction is done on ChurchStreet premises with ChurchStreet’s equipment.

The process basically works this way: Once ChurchStreet technicians receive document shreds from a client, they determine whether the original document can be salvaged.  With a crosscut reconstruction, it is much more important that the collection bag be as undisturbed as possible, given the amount of shredded data.

Companies that blindly shredded documents in the past must now take a much more formal—and thoughtful—approach to what they want to shred and how they want to shred it. In 2005, nothing is simple in security, especially shredding a piece of paper.,1759,1830203,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594

Posted on 06/21