After the Data Protection Act of 1998, it is crucial for businesses to shred and dispose of all paperwork that contains confidential information. Security shredding is a requirement for small and large corporations alike to prevent the misuse of information by criminals or even competitors. Companies who fail to comply with the rules can be fined, and their business may be sued for it. One question that many business owners ask is which documents need shredding and what can be kept with them. Different departments make up for a company, and they will process various documents on a daily basis. It is important to organize document retention and have proper shredding periods to ensure that you comply with the data protection laws. Here is a guide to help you understand some of the common types of documents that need to be shredded and when it should be done –


Most businesses will have an HR department where they will have documents related to personal information of the employees, banking details, restricting plans, salary details, pension information, and others. These documents need to be kept in a file until the legal retention period is running and then has to be shredded properly.

Sales and Marketing

If your business has sales and marketing department, you need to check for documents that contain customer survey, reviews, competitors’ details, forecast information, new product development documents, and others. All documents that you no longer need should be shredded as they can pose a threat to your business or may harm an individual. You do not want these documents to come in the hands of the competitors.


Financial transactions between the company and its clients and also its employees are sensitive in nature. If these documents are not properly managed, they can put them at high risk. Thus, all bank account details, invoices, salary documents, and other financial documents need to be shredded after the retention period is over.

Product Development

It is among the top department that will have plenty of paperwork that you have to deal with properly. Apart from the new product designs and drawings, you will have documents pertaining to work schedules for the team, product cost information, and others that have to be shredded once they have served their purpose.

Other Vulnerable Areas

Your business reception area will also have sensitive paperwork such as visitors log in, staff movements and others that should be shredded. You should also keep an eye around photocopiers and printers. Often employees can leave printed or scanned copies of essential documents that did not print correctly or adequately. These can contain sensitive information and should be disposed of correctly to prevent misuse.


Information on Other Industries

In the case of certain industries such as government agencies, construction companies, healthcare, financial institutions, and retail industry, the seven-year sensitive document retention rule applies to most of them. Once that period is over, the companies in these industries need to dispose of the documents using a shredding service provider. But, there are times when many companies choose to keep the documents for a longer period in case an account is under legal investigation or is needed for an ongoing care plan.

What Documents should be retained by Businesses?

Before packing and sending the documents to a professional shredding services London, it is important to hold onto some documents for longer.  Some of the vital business documents such as original and sealed legal documents should be kept away safely in case of any lawsuit in the future. Other documents can be easily digitalised and shredded properly.

Document shredding is not a small task and should not be taken lightly. It is one of the areas that business owners often neglect. But, they are also a part of the operations of your company and ensure that you do not violate any privacy laws. It is important to hire a professional shredding company to avoid putting your company, your employees, and your clients at risk. The shredding company you pick should have the expertise and knowledge to shred documents securely. It should also have a chain of custody and provide a Certificate of Destruction once the documents are shred.  

Published by Eric Foley