As a business owner it is your responsibility to manage records effectively, and this includes the secure destruction of confidential and personal data. Sadly, this does not just mean tearing a piece of paper in two and chucking it in the bin next to your desk, or even cutting it into smaller bits and throwing it away. Destroying information effectively means shredding your paperwork and correctly disposing of computer hardware. So what exactly do you need to get rid of in order to meet your obligations? Read on and find out!
Bank details are one of the most important documents to destroy, regardless of whether you are a business owner or just clearing out your own personal records. As a company owner, it is essential that you maintain on record the bank account details of all your staff in order to pay them their salary every month. However, it is also your responsibility to get rid of this confidential documentation when the appropriate time comes around to comply with the Data Protection Act.
Employee Application Forms
Whether you own a shop or a bar, an office or a garage, you will at some point receive application forms from people hoping to work within your business. All employee application forms are confidential and need to be dealt with in compliance with the Data Protection Act, regardless of whether their application was successful or not. This includes the complete destruction of the forms after the correct time period has elapsed. For files that you do not want to keep in the office, you could use an offsite data storage company to look after them.
CCTV Tapes and Discs
CCTV footage is also covered by the Data Protection Act, and if you are a business owner with a CCTV camera installed on your premises then you need to be fully compliant with that act by maintaining and following a retention policy. This means that you will only keep the CCTV footage for as long as it is necessary to meet the purpose of recording them. After this time, it is your responsibility to destroy them appropriately. Many document shredding companies also offer a service for destroying data like this.
ID cards are commonplace nowadays, not just in high security companies but also in places like schools, universities and even in offices. ID cards are useful for identifying security, staff and students, and for this reason will usually contain a photograph and a name. The Data Protection Act states that ID cards like these can only be held for as long as the personal data is needed for its particular purpose. This will vary depending on the company and the reason for the ID card, but nonetheless once that period is up it needs to be securely destroyed.
Whenever you sit down to formally evaluate the performance of a member of staff, bear in mind that any issue discussed needs to be kept completely confidential. Not only should it be kept between the employee and the manager, but an appraisal should also be kept on the file of the employee in line with the Data Protection Act. This means no disclosure and the correct destruction technique when the file is no longer needed.
Chloe is an English Literature graduate with a love for words, and finds this a useful skill to have when writing about different things. She also enjoys keeping fit by going on runs and dancing in her free time.
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