The Role of Hardware Destruction in Cyber Security

The data on our myriad of devices — including computers, cell phones, flash drives and SIM cards — must have done something very right because they appear to have been granted eternal life. Seriously. No matter how many how-to articles we read or friends who assure us they “know how to wipe it,” data has a way of coming back to haunt us. The technology and electronics experts at CNET report that, with the right tools, data can be recovered, even after we believe it’s been wiped away.

The ability to restore old data may make the job of prosecutors a little easier in a RICO case and that’s something most of us can live with. What we don’t want to deal with is the way bad guys (and gals) can mine private information about us simply by having access to any one of our devices.

Who among us wants someone else to know the passwords to every online site we visit or, for that matter, which online sites we visit? Who wants to expose the names and phone numbers of their friends, family and business associates? Who wants to share photos and videos that were meant to be private?

With so little privacy in this world already, the least we can do is protect our personal and business information from those who would try to exploit it for their own gains. Like Jimi Hendrix and his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival, the only answer is destruction — the total and complete destruction of all that information-rich hardware.

What we do is take all those outdated electronics — like iPads, cell phones and computers — and pulverize them. By the time we’re done, they are literally laid to waste and no one, no matter how talented, could possibly access the information contained within. Magnetic tapes, CDs, DVDs, SIM cards, old floppy discs and hard drives — we render them useless. We accomplish this by using state-of-the art equipment to shred the items and turn them in nothing more than scrap metal. And in order to be environmentally responsible, the scrap metal is then recycled and used to produce other products rather than end up in a landfill.

If you’re considering having your old hardware destroyed, there are two more things you should know. The first is that we are a trusted member of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID), meaning you can trust us to follow the strictest possible standards. And finally, our mobile shredding unit makes it possible for you to witness the entire process from start to finish.

Although we are proud of our services, the most important thing we offer you is peace of mind. You will never have to worry that someone has access to your information who should not have it. Visit www.TristarShredding.com for more information or contact us today and let us help you keep your private life private.

What Documents Should I Shred?

Most people know the importance of shredding documents that contain sensitive information, but some documents you need to hang on to for future reference. So the question is, how long should you hold on to a document before you shred it? The infographic below, care of the Federal Trade Commission, is a guide to help you know when to store a document and when to shred it.

When you’re ready to shred those documents give us a call – you can do a one time walk-in drop off at our physical location:

Tristar Document Shredding
500 North Loop 336 East, Suite 106 – 107
Conroe, TX 77301
Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm, and Saturday by appointment only

OR you can schedule a mobile service to come to you and pick it up. We provide commercial, community and residential document shredding services. Our mobile shredding unit comes directly to your location allowing you to monitor the shredding process as it happens. There is no need to remove rubber bands, staples, or binder clips. Our shredders handle it all in one simple operation.

Contact us today to get a free quote or to schedule a service.

 

 

 

Why Shredding Old Devices is a Must!

Christmas has come and gone, and with it we know a big wave of smart phones have been replaced with newer, more high tech models.

Cell phones are involved in every aspect of our lives nowadays: we use them as phones, GPS devices, portable computers, and more. Whether you realize it or not, your phone has sensitive information stored on it. Smart phones store all of our usernames and passwords. They have direct access to our bank accounts. They have email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers and pictures of our families and friends.

While we all love getting new devices, it’s important to remember that there is a proper way to dispose of the old devices we no longer use. Having used mobile devices shredded is the only 100% guaranteed way to wipe the stored memory from that device.

Just in case you need convincing, here are 5 reasons to shred your old devices:

  • Restoring your phone to factory settings doesn’t always work. Research was conducted by a team at Cambridge University and their research study found that 80% of the time authentication tokens, which are essentially an electronic key to access confidential accounts and information, were able to be recovered from the devices that had been restored to factory settings. So 80% of the time they were able to access the confidential information of the previous owner that had been “wiped clean” from the phone.
  • The SIM card is not the only part of the phone that stores information. If you remove the SIM card from your device, that does not remove all the stored information within your phone. Just like the phones in the Cambridge research study, all devices have internal components that store information — whether they have a SIM card or not. Removing the SIM card will remove the information stored on the SIM card, but not the information that is stored in your device internally.
  • Destroying it is not enough. You can run any device over with a car or crush it with a hammer, and that STILL doesn’t guarantee that all the right memory chips and internal components that store information have been correctly and totally destroyed. The only guaranteed way to wipe information from a phone is by having a professional shred it.
  • A little information goes a long way. As technology evolves and gets smarter, so do the thieves and hackers. Oftentimes, all they need is one tiny piece of information in order to unlock the door that leads to much more crucial information.
  • Your whole life is on your phone. From emails to bank accounts to photos of loved ones — every little detail about you is stored on your phone. That is reason enough to want to make sure the information on your phone is destroyed properly, by a professional, to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

If the information on your personal device is recovered and stolen it could create numerous problems for you, including identity theft and fraudulent bank account activity. We take precautions with other sensitive information – for example, we don’t just throw away papers with our social security numbers and bank account information – so why aren’t we more cautious with that same information in digital format?

Do your research and you’ll find that data destruction and e-waste recycling are the only safe ways to dispose of your devices. When you’re ready for an expert to take those old devices off your hands and destroy them safely, give us a call at 936-788-4733 or visit our website to get a free quote.

 

The Cure for a Messy Office

Messy office? Tristar Document Shredding can help! We offer mobile services, as well as walk in/drop-off shredding services. Schedule a one-time shredding service, or a regularly scheduled mobile service. If you have a large volume of documents cluttering your office, ask us about our purge services to help free up some valuable office space. We can shred anything – documents, hard drives, electronics, old cell phones, license plates, and more – you name it, we can shred it!

Mobile Shredding Demonstration

Mobile shredding is an easy, fast and safe way to dispose of documents that hold sensitive information. But do you know how easy it is? Hint: It takes two minutes, and zero effort from you! Check out the video below to see what one of our regularly scheduled shredding services looks like.

Our mobile shredding unit comes directly to your location allowing you to monitor the shredding process as it happens. You can schedule weekly, semi-monthly or monthly shredding, although we offer one-time shreds and/or annual purges as well. Our services are charged by the container, box or pound; there are no hidden charges or add-ons.

We don’t just shred paper we can shred almost anything; Materials including hard drives, magnetic tapes, CD’s, floppy discs and more. There is no need to remove rubber bands, staples, or binder clips from your documents beforehand. Our shredders handle it all in one simple operation.

At Tristar Document Shredding our number one priority is YOU. We can tailor our services to suit your needs and ensure a smooth, 100% secure service every time.
Contact us today for more information, pricing or to schedule your first service.

 

How Long Do I Have to Keep My Tax Records?

Phew! April 18th has come and gone. Whether you looked forward to receiving a big refund or dreaded it because you had to pay, tax day is over. At least until next year.

But now, even with electronic filing, you probably have plenty of paper records in a filing cabinet somewhere. Years and years of forms, receipts and documents. One of the most common questions surround tax documents is “How long do we have to keep them?”

The answer: it depends.

If you’re still hanging on to files from 1990’s, you’re certainly safe to shred. In fact, 3 years is the recommended length to keep tax documents in most cases. But there are other situations when you should keep them longer (such as if you filed a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction). You can review the list of IRS guidelines here, or contact a trusted CPA for specific questions about what and how long to keep files.

It can be scary to shred documents (what if I need these later)? However, it can be even scarier NOT to shred them. Paper files create a security risk. Personal information can get into the wrong hands. Papers could be lost or stolen. Your financial information may have changed in the last ten years, but your social security number hasn’t. You still need to protect your personal information.

The safest thing is to destroy documents you no longer need. And when it’s time to do that, make sure you partner with a professional. You can bring them into an on-site shredder, such as Tristar’s Walk-In Shredding, or arrange for a one-time service if you don’t already have a regularly scheduled service in place.

For more information about document shredding contact Tristar today.

Benefits of Walk-In Shredding

No matter the size, location or industry, document and information security is critical to all businesses. Whether it includes patient information, financial records or other critical data, proper security and disposal should be a top priority. Not only for ethical reasons, but also from a legal standpoint. There are severe penalties for non-compliance, as well as potential PR repercussions that can negatively affect a business. The risks simply aren’t worth it.

Which is why many people opt to physically bring in and watch their documents and/or hard-drives in being shredded. It’s worth it for their peace of mind.

In fact, walk-in shredding has many benefits, including:

Convenience – When you have documents you need to destroy,  you simply bring it in to the center. No appointment necessary during regular business hours, and no need to wait or hold on to them until a scheduled day/time. Instead, you set the schedule according to your needs.

Any Amount – Most walk-in shredding locations, including Tristar’s new Conroe location, will accept any amount, big or small. You can pop in with a single box of documents, or arrive with multiple boxes and several hard-drives.

Paper and Hard-Drive Shredding –  You can go to one single location to safely and securely dispose of both paper documents AND hard-drives.

Peace of Mind – There is a certain peace of mind that comes with having your documents or hard-drives shredded on-site while you watch. No wondering what could happen after they leave your hands. Plus, you’ll have a record confirming that your documents have been destroyed.

Walk-in shredding is a convenient and safe way to destroy documents. If you have questions about the service, contact us directly today. Or bring your documents or hard-drives to our new walk-in location:

Tristar Document Shredding

500 North Loop 336 East, Suite 106-107

Conroe, TX 77301

Walk-in Shredding Hours:

Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

Saturday by appointment

 

How to Find a Trustworthy Data and Document-Shredding Service

paper scrap imageWe all know the value of shredding confidential documents, but what is the value of on-site shredding? On-site shredding is when a shredding company destroys your documents, hard drives, etc., on-site in front of your own eyes.

Many people have concerns about handing over their confidential documents containing private information to a stranger, even if that stranger is a shredding company. We understand these concerns. The whole reason people have documents shredded is to keep the information they contain from falling into someone else’s hands, so it makes sense to have anxiety about handing them over to a stranger.

How can you get peace of mind when using a professional shredding service? Here are some tips to help you find a document and hard-drive-destruction company that you can trust:

Research – Do your research, people! Make sure the company you choose is a respectable, trustworthy company. Check any ratings and reviews, and always go with a company that gives you a Certificate of Destruction confirming your materials have been destroyed.

NAID Membership – Another good thing to look for is whether or not they have a membership with the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). NAID membership shows that the company and its employees are professionals who are up-to-date with the current industry standards and regulations.

Recycle – Once you have chosen a shredding company, be sure to ask if they recycle! With the amount of paper that is being shredded by any given shredding company, it’s a no-brainer that they should recycle it and help protect the environment. Make sure they dispose of shredded hard drives and e-waste responsibly as well – these things should also be recycled as they contain toxic components that are harmful to people, animals and the environment.

Convenience – Last but not least, you want to choose a shredding service that is efficient but also convenient for you. Do they offer the services that you need, and are they capable of handling the amount of shredding you have? Do they come to you, or do you go to them? Do they offer regular scheduled services or just one-time services? Make sure that they can meet your needs with minimal effort from you.

If you have questions about document shredding or need additional information about business services or pricing, contact Tristar Document Shredding today.