Does Shredding Really Permanently Destroy a Document?

Does your business handle sensitive information or customer/client data that is printed on paper, not just kept digitally? If you don’t already, you’ll likely need to destroy older or unusable information by shredding it. You can’t just choose any shredder, though. Not all shredders are the same, and some create a risk of shredded documents being pieced back together by parties with ill intentions, like someone who is trying to steal credit card or financial account information.

Shredding can come in various types, like strip-cut, cross-cut, and micro-cut, each offering different levels of security. If you want to make sure that the documents you shred are permanently destroyed, not just temporarily, you’ll want to insist on the toughest shredder available, which could very well mean relying on a professional shredding service with high-security standards instead of handling this process on your own.

Different Types & Severities of Document Shredding

Document shredding comes in different types and severities, each offering varying levels of security to meet specific needs. Which type of shredding level will your business need to make sure that no bad actors steal sensitive information to sell?

The three most common types and severities of document shredding are:

  • Strip-cut: Simple machinery is used to cut paper lengthwise into strips. Most shredders in office settings are strip-cut shredders because they are known for their speed and relatively low cost. Companies with low-sensitive documents might be fine with using a strip-cut shredder, but it is not recommended if better options are available.
  • Cross-cut: Higher-grade off-the-shelf shredders tend to be cross-cut shredders, which use a scissor-like mechanism to cut the paper from two angles as it is fed into the shredder. Many cross-cut shredders are durable enough to destroy credit cards, too. The cross-cut shred is more destructive than strip-cut shredding but does not do much to ensure shredded documents are impossible to reassemble.
  • Micro-cut: The best option for the most thorough paper destruction possible is the micro-cut shred. The mechanism intensely cuts and grinds the paper, so the result is somewhat like mulching the paper into small pieces. Any company with sensitive documents and on-paper data should insist on micro-cut shredding. Furthermore, any company that knows just how bad it can be to lose sensitive documents to bad actors should insist on micro-cut shredding done by a professional shredding service.

Can Shredded Documents Be Pieced Back Together?

It is theoretically possible to restore shredded documents by piecing the shredded bits back together because, depending on the type of shredder used, the pieces can remain relatively large and uniform. Papers destroyed by a strip-cut shredder are the easiest to reassemble because they are cut into long, narrow strips that can be laid side-by-side to gradually reveal parts of the original document. Although this process is intricate and time-consuming, a "professional" fraudster might have the time and tools needed to complete it.

In contrast, micro-cut shredding makes it much more difficult to piece destroyed papers back together. This method essentially grinds or mulches the paper into tiny particles, vastly reducing the size and uniformity of each piece. Micro-cut shredding produces confetti-like fragments, so bad actors can't simply tape strips back together, making the task of reconstructing the original document pretty close to impossible.

Additional Ways to Ensure Shredded Documents Stay That Way

Hiring a professional shredding company can provide your business with an even higher level of shredding security than what the best off-the-shelf micro-cut shredder can offer. Professional shredding companies use commercial-grade micro-cut shredders that shred documents into minuscule particles, far beyond the capabilities of the average office shredder. Additionally, professional shredding services should come with certifications and compliance guarantees that state all confidential information is destroyed in accordance with strict data protection regulations.

Setting a regular shredding schedule for your business can help ensure that sensitive documents are consistently destroyed and not overlooked or improperly stored, too. By establishing a routine shredding protocol for your company, you can systematically eliminate the risk of accumulating unsecured documents that might be misplaced or intentionally stolen. Different departments within your company likely handle varying levels of sensitive information, so you can create shredding schedules according to the sensitivity of documents used in each area.

Destroy Documents for Good with Acro Photo Print Inc.

At Acro Photo Print Inc. in New York, we are proud to stay completely up to date on all regulation standards set by the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID). Not only do we use commercial-grade shredders to thoroughly destroy documents that make piecing paper bits together virtually impossible, but we also securely store all shredded documents until they can be further processed, which may include recycling—no thief can reassemble a document after it has been recycled into blank sheets of paper! When customers, companies, and corporations bring their documents to be destroyed, they know that our shredding services will get the job done quickly and at a competitive price.

For professional shredding services in New York, call (929) 244-4322 or contact us online now for a quote.