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Holiday Closures 2017

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Holiday Closures 2017

Posted on 23 November 2016 by Total Secure Shredding



We will be closed the following days in 2017

  • Monday (Memorial Day) May 29, 2017- Closed
  • Tuesday (Independence Day) July 4, 2017- Closed
  • Monday (Labor Day) September 4, 2017- Closed
  • Thursday (Thanksgiving) November 23, 2017- Closed
  • Friday (Day After Thanksgiving) November 24, 2017- Closed
  • Monday (Christmas Day) December 25, 2017- Closed
  • Monday (New Year’s Day) January 1, 2018- Closed


Happy Holidays!

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shredding paper


Did You Know That Shredding Is Environmentally Friendly?

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Total Secure Shredding

Perhaps the number one reason why most companies choose to shred unwanted documents is to enhance and maintain security. What you may not know is that document shredding isn’t just a great way to improve paper reduction processes in a company and boost internal security – it also offers crucial environmental sustainability. According to research conducted by the environmental protection agency, and various other sources, the environmental impact of shredding documents could be tremendous.

shredding paper

Our environment plays a crucial role in the future of our society, which is why it’s so important that we do everything we can to protect and nourish it. More corporations and private citizens than ever before have come to recognize the need to build sustainable workspaces, lifestyle, and homes, and now they are beginning to realize that shredding has a vital part to play.

Why Is Shredding So Useful?

Often, when people consider the benefits of paper shredding, they do so in relation to security – coming up with ways to prevent the robbery of sensitive information. However, paper shredding is also helpful to the environment. First of all, most shredding companies utilize systems that are “green”, ensuring that shredded material is recycled and re-used in useful formats. For instance, shred paper, after destruction,  could transform into new consumer goods such as paper towels and plates, saving the environment by reducing the number of trees cut down for new materials.

Organizations that choose to take part in document shredding can assist environmental sustainability by reducing the negative impact of waste on the environment. Paper thrown away instead of being recycled can build up in landfills, or may need to be destroyed using methods that rely upon environmentally-damaging fuels. By shredding documents, we protect the trees, earth, and atmosphere.

The Statistics of Shredding

Saving forest land is one of the many different benefits that recycling can have for the environment. The process of producing paper in the first place uses significant amounts of water and energy – pumping extra pollutants into the atmosphere. However, recycling a single ton of paper results in the use of 65% less energy, 50% less water, and 72% less pollution.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, when a person throws a single piece of paper into the trash, that paper becomes around 33% of the municipal solid waste stream. When you take into account the fact that each office worker uses an average of 10,000 sheets of paper each year, you can imagine the impact that such waste is having on our environment.

Within the United States alone, each individual produces just under five pounds of paper-related garbage every day. This waste moves into landfills where it piles up over time, creating eye-sores for the country. The good news is that despite this significant waste, many businesses are now committing themselves to the concepts of basic recycling.

Recycling is a great way of protecting the environment – but simply recycling paper by placing it in bins for other agencies to collect poses a significant risk to many businesses. Documentation including important or personal details can remain on papers that are improperly recycled, and if the right people do not handle those papers, they could provide the perfect opportunity for robbery or identity theft. As any of the personal information that a company handles is their responsibility, misuse could lead to serious litigation against that business. With that in mind, both shredding and recycling paper is perhaps the best way for companies across the globe to improve their impact on the environment, while maintaining sustainable security for sensitive documents.

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CONFIDENTIAL: Top 11 Worst Data Breaches of All Time [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on 20 August 2015 by Total Secure Shredding

A look at the latest and most significant hacker-related data breaches; determined by the amount of classified information that ended up in the wrong hands.

5,377 – Number of data breaches from 2005 to June 2015

786,098,214 – Number of records stolen from 2005 to June 2015

Due to the rise in prevalence, data breaches and have become a huge topic of concern for both customers and business owners. Now more than ever, it’s important to stay informed, be alert, and take the appropriate precautions in order to keep your classified information safe.


(2nd largest health insurer in the U.S.)

  • 80,000,000 records accessed
  • February 2015
  • Hackers retrieved: names, dates of birth, member ID/social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, employment information

JP Morgan Chase

(Largest bank in the U.S.)

  • 76,000,000 records accessed
  • July 2014
  • Hackers obtained: names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses

Home Depot

  • 56,000,000 records accessed
  • September 2014
  • Hackers obtained: credit and debit card information
  • Accessed through: malware installed on cash register systems in 2,200 stores


  • 145,000,000 records accessed
  • March 2014
  • Hackers obtained: all customer account information


  • 70,000,000 records accessed
  • December 2013
  • Hackers obtained: credit and debit card information
  • Accessed through: software installed on magnetic swipe machines at registers


  • 36,000,000 records accessed
  • September 2013
  • Hackers obtained: customer IDs, encrypted passwords, names, credit card numbers, expiration dates

Massive American Business Hack

(7-Eleven, JC Penny, Hannaford, Heartland, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Euronet, Visa Jordan, Global Payment, Diners Singapore, and Ingenicard)

  • 160,000,000 records accessed
  • 2005-2012
  • Hackers obtained: credit card and debit card numbers, bank account information
  • The hackers targeted banks, payment processors, and chain stores

Sony PSN

  • 77,000,000 records accessed
  • April 2011
  • Hackers obtained: all user account information


(Independent payment processor)

  • 130,000,000 records accessed
  • March 2008
  • Hackers obtained: credit and debit card information
  • Considered the largest credit card scam in the U.S.

TJX Companies

(TJ Maxx/ Marshalls)

  • 94,000,000 records accessed
  • December 2006
  • Hackers obtained: credit and debit card information
  • Considered the largest retail data breach in the U.S.


  • 92,000,000 records accessed
  • August 2006
  • Hackers obtained: screen names, email addresses
  • Accessed by a previous AOL employee (software engineer) who gave the data to spammers

biggest data breaches infographic

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Prevent data breaches by performing regular tests to assess vulnerability, backing up information through remote data backup services, and effectively disposing any extra or duplicate records of confidential information.

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paper shredding

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Types of Paper Shredders

Posted on 06 August 2015 by Total Secure Shredding

Which shredder is right for your family or company?

A 2015 episode of the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul features paper shredding.

Ambulance chasing attorney Jimmy suspects the nursing home where many of his clients live of egregiously overcharging its elderly residents. As he makes these accusations to the facility manager, he notices a secretary in the back shredding documents. That night, he goes to the trash, recovers a huge armload of paper strips   and has his gifted brother reassemble them. While this is TV, conceivably, a scenario like this it could be done, particularly since the clueless nursing home used a cheap strip cut shredder. Compared to a pierce and tear cross cut mobile shredding truck, the standard shredding equipment used by shredding companies, reconstructing strip cut shred paper seems like kindergarten work.

Not familiar with paper shredding options like these? If you’re in a sensitive business (medical, legal) or want to keep your identity protected, you should be. The FBI’s number one recommendation for protecting identity is keeping your social security, bank account, credit card and other personal identification numbers protected. Consider the following features when evaluating paper shredding options that protect all this and possibly even your business’s trade secrets and your clients’ privacy and personal information, too!


Paper Shredders by Cut Size and Shape

Shredder manufacturers differentiate paper shredders by the size and type of cut they create.

  • Strip cut shredders cut paper into long strips, which conceivably can be reassembled by a very patient person as in the example above.

  • Cross cut shredders cut one sheet diagonally, turn it 90 degrees and cut it again so that the paper becomes 300+ diamond shaped pieces. The smaller the pieces the higher the security level.

    paper shredding

  • Pierce and tear cross cut mobile shredders are the most popular method of shredding among shredding companies. Pierce and tear shredders use counter-rotating shafts and circular blades to peirce and teach each paper, reducing it to small, uneven pieces. Paper recyclers actually prefer paper shredded by pierce and tear cross cut mobile shredders, because the particle size creates less dust and is easier to process.

Personal and small business use shredders tend toward the simpler end of paper shredders: often over-trash-can-models. These models sell for around $100 at the office supply stores. Large corporations, legal and medical businesses as well as government entities must use complex shredders to keep sensitive information safe. These shredders can cost $2,000 or more, but they’re crucial to the smooth functioning of the business. Businesses small and large can often benefit from using a secure shredding company for all of their shredding needs. This 5 minute paper shredding audit will help you decide how a secure shredding company can help you.


Paper Shredding Service

While your business can purchase a paper shredder, security is compromised somewhat when more employees enter into the shredding process. Office shredders can take employee time and require maintenance as well. A shredding service not only provides an independent, auditable Certificate of Destruction, it provides pick up and recycling services, saving you and employees precious time. Often, shredding service professional never even handles the documents. “Chain of custody” is established once your company’s representative signs the material over to the shredding service technician.

Smart Shredding Prevents Identity Theft

Just recently (July 2015), the Federal Trade Commission publicly accused identity theft protection company Life Lock of violating a 2010 settlement by continuing to make deceptive claims about its identity theft protection services, as well as by failing to make changes required to protect user data. Read all about action against LifeLock on the FTC website here.

LifeLock’s commercials pop up on television, radio and Internet regularly.  Their 2014 earnings amounted to $129.7 million, an increase of 21% from 2013’s figures. Shouldn’t this “industry leader” in identity theft have this process down? The truth is, if consumers and business owners don’t make an effort to protect their private information and account numbers, there isn’t much a Life Lock or its competitors can do.

Homeowners with small volumes of bank statements or social security statements they want to destroy do well with a shredder at home. Businesses with a larger volume of potentially sensitive information do the best when depending on a shredding service to instantly destroy documents. If you’re interested in having your documents disposed of not only securely but conveniently, contact Total Secure Shredding, a San Diego Woman Owned Business certified by WBENC, today. In business since 2006, we’ve become experts in securely disposing not only of documents, but x-ray slides, hard-drives, CDs, DVDs and more! Check us out on Facebook, too!

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HIPAA Compliance in Document Shredding

Posted on 07 July 2015 by Total Secure Shredding

Desk sceneWhen it comes to privacy, nothing is more valuable than a patient’s medical records. Medical practitioners have the responsibility of protecting the data of their patients–not just from an ethical standpoint, but from a legal one too. Obtaining, storing, and destroying medical records must be done in a way that keeps patient privacy a priority, and that aligns with the regulations that oversee proper treatment of patient medical information.

What is HIPAA law?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a national set of standards that medical professionals must follow to keep the information of patients private. It first emerged in 1996 and it is intended to keep patients both informed and protected from information being used for non-medical purposes, or without their permission. HIPAA takes into account that reasonable information-sharing rules must be in place to benefit the patient. In other words, the act is designed to keep medical information private but still allow for timely, quality care for patients.

What is a Practitioner’s HIPAA Responsibility to Patients?

There are two HIPAA-allowed reasons a practitioner would disclose information to an entity on the part of a patient. The first is to the individuals themselves when they want to see their records, or to their designated representatives (who are chosen in writing). The second is when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is conducting a review or investigation that may lead to enforcement access. Beyond that, a practitioner must have written consent to share that information.

The law was written before the internet was commonplace, so some patients and healthcare providers complain that it needs updating to accommodate electronic convenience. To stay in keeping with the original outlines of the law, however, practitioners still require permissions in writing and stay away from e-mailing things like medical records to their patients.

How Can Documents be HIPAA-Compliant When Shredded?

Though much of the permissions to share medical records must still be done the “old fashioned” way, HIPAA does not prevent practitioners from digitizing their own documents in-house. When this digital transfer takes place, it means that healthcare professionals have handwritten duplicates of the information that is now available to them in an electronic format. Getting rid of the remaining written records is often a step these practitioners are eager to take, both to eliminate the duplication and to provide an even higher level of privacy to patients. There are also certain medical records that can be disposed of after a certain time frame, but once again, these need to be destroyed in a way that aligns with HIPAA.

Clearly just throwing away medical records is not a smart move, and it is certainly not HIPAA compliant. Shredding the documents is a safer route, but even then, vigilance in how the records are destroyed is necessary to keep the medical information out of the wrong hands. There are no HIPAA specific rules when it comes to shredding medical documents, but to stay in compliance, the American Health Information Management Association suggests that practitioners:

Have a Uniform Shredding policy.

Healthcare organizations are urged to create a document shredding policy that is the same every time. This ensures everyone has step-by-step instructions and that there is an outline of what should be done each time. If a medical organization decides to outsource document shredding to a third-party, they should ensure that this type of policy is in place and that is aligns with the tenets of HIPAA.

Keep good shredding records.

If a medical facility chooses to have a contractor shred its records, it is important to obtain all of the following information from that contractor to keep on hand at the practice. This should include:

  • Method of destruction

  • Date of destruction

  • Statement that basically explains why the records were shredded

  • Description of what was destroyed that includes the date ranges

  • Signatures from anyone involved in the shredding decision making and in the actual destruction process.

Contractors AND medical facilities should keep these records handy. This documentation should be kept somewhere that is available to both regulators and the medical practitioner clients.

Protect themselves when using third-party contractors.

If a medical facility does decide to hire a contractor to destroy medical records through shredding, they should take a few additional steps to protect themselves. Those include:

  • A contract that indemnifies the facility from unauthorized disclosure.

  • Choosing a contractor that maintains liability insurance.

  • Insisting that the contractor provide documentation and proof of the destruction process. This should also include the method of destruction (in writing) and the estimated time that will lapse between obtaining the records and destroying them.

Is shredding the only approved way to destroy medical records?

Shredding is the smartest way to get rid of paper documents, but not all medical records are in a paper format or are easily shredded. To ensure that there is no chance of a record being reconstructed, a practitioner should follow these guidelines for destroying information based on its format:

Microfilm and Microfiche.

These can both be destroyed through recycling and pulverizing.

Laser disks.

Any of these that are in write once-read many formats (also referred to as WORM) can’t be altered or used more than once, so pulverization is the recommended way to destroy them.

Computerized data.

Without getting too technical, the best way to protect computerized information is to make the data there unrecoverable. This can be done by shredding or degaussing the computer hard drive. To shred a computer hard drive it must render the drive completely useable and be cut into several pieces.  Degaussing leaves the data on magnetic media, scrambled or in random patterns that make it impossible to read or put back together in a way that makes sense. Some think that overwriting files makes them impossible to read but in truth, a file can be overwritten six times and still be recovered. To really get rid of this information the degaussing process needs to be implemented.

Magnetic tapes.

Degaussing, as opposed to overwriting, is also preferred for magnetic tapes (and for the same reasons listed above).

In the end, properly shredding medical documents protects patients, practitioners, and contractors. Take the time to do it correctly or hire the right company to meet your HIPAA compliant shredding needs. Remaining HIPAA compliant is non-negotiable, and destroying records in the right way keeps patient privacy intact.

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