Though it is the widely held belief that identity theft is predominantly a result of increased business conducted electronically, The Security of Paper Documents in the Workplace study conducted by Ponemon Institute in October, 2008 showed paper documents are a still the major hazard. In this study, the vast majority of respondents (80%) who self-reported that their organizations had a data breach, state that they had one or more data breaches in the past 12 months. Forty-nine percent state that one or more of these data breaches involved the loss or theft of paper documents.
In fact, 71% of participants in the study reported being aware of an incident in which sensitive or confidential paper documents were lost or misplaced in their organization and 53% believe that employees are putting them at risk at communal printers, in meeting rooms or at meetings held outside the office.
The final survey sample consisted of 819 individuals who work in IT operations, IT security, data protection and compliance in large organizations in a variety of industries.
Achieving data security is a function both of proper access to information (the secretary probably should not have access to payroll data) and clear data management policies. By outsourcing shredding, companies can be relieved of backlogs from busy employees or slow/broken down shredders. The locked containers further restrict unauthorized access to the paperwork.