Do You Know Paper Shredder Security Levels?

shredder security

When selecting a new paper shredder, think about your identity theft prevention needs and how it applies to shredding. A shredder cut size can range from strips to infinitesimal particles. Choose from one of these four levels of shredding security.

 

Strip-Cut Shredders-Security level P-2

If you only shred junk mail or are shredding just to declutter your home office, a simple strip-cut shredder is useful. A strip-cut machine reduces documents to 7/32″ strips of paper.

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Cross-Cut Shredders-Security Level 3-4

Cross-cut shredders are the first choice among most small offices and homes for destroying confidential information. Cross-cuts reduce documents to 5/32″ x 1-1/2″ particles, roughly 397 particles per sheet of paper, making them practically impossible to reassemble.

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Micro-Cut Shredders-Security Level P-5

Micro-cut shredders are growing in popularity, especially after former con man and security expert Frank Abnagle indicated that he “shreds everything with a micro-cut.” Micro-cuts are the highest level of document destruction, meeting many federal guidelines for shredding, literally turning documents to dust and leaving behind 5/64″ x 5/16″ particles in your shredder bin—that’s 3,770 particles per sheet! If you manage confidential documents including financial papers or documents containing personal information like social security numbers, than the micro-cut is the best choice for your business.

micro cut shredder

 

Government Approved Shredders-Security Level P-7

The government isn’t satisfied with micro-cut. When it comes to classified and top secret documents, government agencies use high-security shredders, transforming paper into 1/32″ x3/16″ particles. If you are looking for absolute peace of mind when it comes to shredding, selecting a government shredder ensures nothing will be left behind to piece back together.

The Five Worst Dogs for Dander

pet air purifier for dog dander

Your dog may be the culprit for your allergies. Some breeds produce more dander, which can aggravate allergy sensitivity. Select a pet air purifier if you have one of these breeds.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds are more likely to develop dry skin which leads to scratching, which leads to dander in the air. Along with your using your air purifier, also bath and groom your dog regularly.

Akitas

Akitas have a lovely coat, which unfortunately shreds in spring and fall, leaving indoor air rife with allergens. If you have this breed, you most likely will crank up the air purifier to fend off fall and spring allergies along with pet dander.

Alaskan Malamute

The Alaskan Malamute has a biannual “blow coat” along with constant daily shedding. Use a shedding tool to minimize airborne particles and let your pet air purifier do the rest.

Labrador Retriever

Labs have deceptively short coats, but they do shred frequently. Be sure to change your air purifier filters regularly to maintain a dander-free household.

Great Pyrenees

This heavy coated breed produces tons of dander. If you have this dog regularly bath him or her with follicle dilating shampoos.

Dogs Can Have Allergies Too!

In addition to your allergies, your dog may be suffering as well. Allergies to both airborne pollutants and food can cause skin irritation in some breeds, which can contribute to excessive shedding and dander. If your dog itches frequently, sneezes often or experiences symptoms like vomiting, they may have allergies. According to one recent study, nearly 8 percent of dogs presented to a referral vet dermatology practice had food allergies, which represented about a third of all the dogs presented there with allergic skin disease.

 

The Risks of the Ready-to-Shred Slush Pile

shredder slush pile

Many busy offices may not shred daily. In fact, Fellowes consumer research shows that as much 30% of offices still shred only a few times a week rather than everyday, which means confidential documents are accumulating in a ready-to-shred slush pile. When you consider that 43% of data losses were directly accountable to internal factors, ranging from disgruntled employees to corporate spies, the unattended slush pile becomes an overlooked risk.

Slush Pile Solutions

An office of any size can still manage a daily shredding policy without compromising productivity. Using an automatic shredder, makes the process easy.

Automatic shredders can handle loads of shredding all at once hands-free, eliminating the need for hand-feeding documents into the machine. This is the most common cause of the slush pile, as papers are typically set aside for a time when an office employee can handle a large shredding task.

Some models of automatic shredders feature scheduled shredding options, allowing automatic shredding to be done after business hours on a daily basis. Piles of confidential documents left exposed overnight are vulnerable to identity thieves who often take jobs with cleaning crews for the very purpose of gaining access to these documents.

Automatic Shredding-Not Just for the Big Corporate Office

Add automatic shredders to a small business as well. With the 130C  automatic shredder, small offices can also improve productivity and eliminate the risk of the ready-to-shred slush pile.

New Government-Backed Rating System Promotes Sit-Stand Desks for Healthier Workplaces

Developed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fitwel, a new workplace design standard seeks to improve office health and productivity through improvements in design and policy. The government certification analyzes and assesses facilities designed for work for well-being and health benefits including indoor air quality, well-being enhancements for employees, such as implementing sit stand workstations,  and even evaluating the overall design of the building itself. Fitwel will be used as a standard for new federal government construction projects.

The Reason for the Sit Stand Focus: Office Workers Spend 5 Hours a Day at Their Desks

New evidence shows that alternating between standing and sitting at your desk throughout the work day improves circulation and energy.  The design of the Lotus Sit-Stand allows for easier transition from sitting to standing positions.

Lotus Sit Stand Workstation  sit

In a recent poll by American City & County, 53% of government office workers agreed that standing desks boost productivity.

How Experts View the Value of Sit Stand Desks

Workplace Trends expert Jonathan Webb sees sit-stand technology as a practical and healthy part of the new standard.  “The cost of sit-stand desks continues to drop as the product becomes more popular worldwide. The cost delta between sit-stand and static desks has dropped over 50 percent in recent years. Secondly, organizations see the benefits of allowing workers the ability to sit and stand throughout the day. For one, keeping knowledge workers at their most productive place – their computer – makes for a more productive employee. In addition, there are significant health benefits to altering postures throughout the day, including improved metabolism and heart rates, and reduced blood pressure.” Fitwel hopes to provide a definitive outline of the essential characteristics of a healthy workplace more clearly for business owners, human resource departments and facility managers.

Learn more about the Fitwel standard.

Sources: http://americancityandcounty.com/office-equipment/expert-expect-see-more-standing-desks-workplace-2017

 

Why Accountants Need To Review Their Shredder Policy During Tax Season

shredding during tax season

Digital identity theft is the primary concern for most business professionals, including accountants. Yet during tax time, strategic dumpster diving is a common technique used by identity thieves. Focused on dumpsters behind office buildings where accountants and tax preparers conduct business, identity thieves rely on the hectic busy season to create lapses in document-based identity theft prevention.

Shredding Policy Basics

  1. Ensure all employees know what documents must be shredded. Create a list of key documents as reference for all employees.
  2. Shred all documents during working hours. Avoid leaving slush piles of paper to shred while not in the office. Cleaning crews may accidentally toss these papers if they appear as trash.
  3. Ensure shredder bins are emptied regularly. When employees are busy, full shredder bins often lead to documents being set aside to be shredded later, only to be discarded as regular trash.

Choosing a Shredder for an Accounting Office

Select a paper shredder that accommodates the size of the office.  Large, commercial shredders are ideal for any size shared office as they require less frequent emptying. Small office shredders placed by employee desks work well too. Automatic shredding is the latest in shredder technology and allows documents to be safely destroyed even after office hours with computerized settings. Learn more about Automatic Shredding

Make sure to use cross-cut shredders. Strip cut shredders are okay for households, but do not provide adequate document destruction for businesses. Cross-cut shredders grind documents into 5/32” x 1-1/2” cross-cut particles.(Security Level P-4).  For greater peace of mind, consider a micro-cut shredder.

Learn more about shredding security levels

Lax  Tax Document Destruction in the News

 

Sanitizing the Air Against the Most Common Airborne Winter Illnesses

preventing airborne germs with an air purifier

A home air purifier does more than remove odors. By running an air cleaner in the most used rooms on a regular basis during the winter, you minimize some of the common germs floating in your home during the season.

Common cold

A cold is a viral infection marked by runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or headache. The germs are spread through the air and personal contact. Colds are caused by many different types of viruses and can occur year round, although they are most frequent in the winter months. Children often get 10 or more colds per year!  A combination of washing hands, sanitizing common surfaces and air purification help reduce the presence of cold germs.

Influenza

Influenza comes on quickly with high fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches and pains.  Most flu viruses are transmitted by personal contact and airborne respiratory droplets, which means a sneeze or cough can quickly and easily contaminate a closed up home for winter. Along with the annual flu vaccine, keeping hand sanitizer available and running an air purifier with a fresh filter helps reduce the spread of these pesky germs.

Croup

Croup often comes on suddenly in the middle of the night. You may wake up to your child coughing loudly. The croup cough often is described as “barking” or “like a seal”. Croup is caused by viruses that can be spread easily through coughing, sneezing, and respiratory secretions (mucus and droplets from coughing or sneezing). Children with croup should be considered contagious for three days after the illness begins or until the fever is gone. Most likely this infection will be brought home from school. To prevent it from spreading to other kids at home or yourself, air purification in the home and quarantine measures can help minimize the impact of the infection.

Strep Throat

Streptococcal bacteria are highly contagious. They can spread through airborne droplets when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through shared food or drinks. Minimizing contact while the infected person recovers with antibiotics is one preventive measure against the spread of germs. Also, keeping the air clean in their bedroom or in common areas helps as well.

The Best Shredders For a Tax Time Paper Purge

tax time paper purge

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A year end paper purge is the perfect time to think about getting a new shredder. If you allowed that slush pile of old and irrelevant files to become a monumental heap, then your current paper shredder may not be up to the daunting task.

Four Shredder Upgrades That Will Make a Happier New Year

  1. Greater Run Time Shredder

Your smaller, occasional use personal shredder is designed for shredding the daily junk mail, not three years of obsolete records. Your old shredder may overheat and frequent breaks will be required for cooldowns. Shredding could take days!

longer run time shredder

Get a shredder with longer run time so you can shred more and shred longer. This one runs for 30 minutes!

2. Go Automatic

So little time, so much to shred. Standing over your old shredder feeding papers into it seems like a waste of a day.

automatic shredder for home office

Get an automatic shredder and save time. Simply load the drawer, push the button and walk away.

 

3.  A Quieter Paper Shredder

If you’re intent on a major de-clutter of your home office, you may be shredding into the wee hours of the night. That old shredder isn’t getting any quieter.

 

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Get a shredder with silent performance features so you can shred all night without waking the family.

   4A Safer Paper Shredder

Weekends, snow days and kids home sick means your home office may be over run with little ones. You may have to delay your shredding tasks as your old shredder simply isn’t safe to operate around the kids.

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Get a shredder with safety features so you can keep shredding with  peace of mind.

How Tax Preparers Add Extra Security During Tax Time

privacy filter for tax preparers

 

With tax time comes the increased risk of identity theft. Many accountants and tax preparers ramp up their digital security with malware protection, encryption and high security networks. Yet often visual security is overlooked. The tactic of gleaning information from computer screens in a glance is one of many used by the modern hacker.  A privacy filter is the best way to thwart this information hunting expedition.

Why Privacy Filters Are Not Used

In many instances, workers complaint that privacy filters are inconvenient. After all, sometimes it is necessary to show your screen to a coworker and the privacy screen has to be removed and put back on. For this reason, Fellowes created the PrivaScreen Filter with Quick Reveal Tabs, making the screen easier to attach and remove as needed.

Learn more about PrivaScreen:

Financial Professionals at Risk

Accountants in corporate offices are especially vulnerable. Feeling secure in their department, they lower their guard, reviewing sensitive information on their screens at computers that are within visual range of office traffic areas. And the larger the office the better, as unidentified workers from different departments, mailroom workers and building maintenance can wander through without suspicion. Many IT professionals recommend the use of blackout privacy filters on computer screens company wide. Blackout screens conceal visual content when viewed from side angles, while keeping the straight on views completely clear.

Many independent tax preparers, not having the traffic concerns of a busy corporate office are vulnerable as well. With a storefront office and a steady stream of clients during tax time, a quick glimpse at a screen may go unnoticed. Maintaining security with a privacy screen is a simple and effective measure that minimizes the risk for freelance preparers who can’t afford the liability.

Use the Perfect Fit Selector Tool to find the right size to fit your computer screen.

 

Twelve Flexible File Storage Categories for Your Small Business

 

Categories for File Organization

Records storage may seem an incidental part of your small business operation. But flexibility in records management plays an important role in the scale of your business.  Just think of the smaller space of your offices and how a sudden surge in business means more paper records and the need to fill up your limited space with bulky filing cabinets. File boxes offer a more flexible option, as they can be stacked, stored and transported quickly and easily as your business needs change. Providing a box for each category of your business paperwork also creates a self-contained and highly organized file that can moved to a back office or to off-site storage with ease.

Here are twelve box categories to keep your business nimbly organized.

Accounting

Create and fill this box with sales and expense info including balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Banking

This box contains cancelled checks, bank statements, deposit slips and loan documents

Contracts

Keep all of your business contracts in this box including those for equipment leases and purchase agreements. You may also include work-for-hire contacts joint venture agreements.

Corporate Documents

If your business is incorporated you will need a box for articles of incorporation, bylaws and shareholder records such as minutes and consents.

Business Forms

This box is specially essential for accountants and attorneys who use standards forms daily. You may want to include sales agreements, tax forms, purchase order forms and employee applications here.

IPO

If you work with intellectual property, even on a small scale, you need to stay organized. A box containing trademark applications, patents,  licenses and non-disclosure agreements go in this file.

Marketing and Advertising

If you are promoting your business, you will need to keep records of your marketing brochures, past ads for print and web, press releases and other materials.  You may need to refer back to this file as you continue to market your company to see what produced the best ROI.

Permits and Licenses

The documentation to operate your business needs its own file. Use this box to keep operating permits, business licenses and other documents that you may need quick and easy access to for legal verification.

Last Minute Deductions for Your Business

 

office tax deductions

As the new year approaches, it’s a good time to review any office needs so you can add those deductions as business expenses. Here are some suggestions to improve productivity for your workplace while saving money during tax season.

Upgrading Your Office Shredder

Have you noticed that you can’t make a phone call while shredding because it’s so noisy, or perhaps you are constantly tearing jammed paper from the shredder’s jaws. Or when emptying the shredder bin, you notice that the paper isn’t quite shredded, more half-eaten? These are all signs that it is time for a new office shredder.  Upgrade to an office shredder that is jam proof, quiet and sure to turn documents to dust before 2017 starts. Shredder tax deductions.

best size paper shredder

 

Adding New Business Machines to the Office

Every time there is an important presentation and you need fifty bound PowerPoints, your first thought is usually that this is an occasional need so you might as well just take the project to your local print shop for binding. If you find yourself saying this often, then you may be throwing money away on expensive outsourced binding costs when you can do it quickly and easily yourself.

Pick out a reasonably priced binding machine and create impressive presentations for every big meeting. Plus, it’s an easy business write-off. Binding Machine tax deductions.

comb binding for business

The same goes for those pesky laminating tasks you sometimes need. If you calculated all the costs accrued every time when you needed laminated handouts for an event or laminated badges for a trade show, you would realize how much you would save with the minor cost of an office laminating machine, which is tax deductible. Laminating Machine tax deductions.

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Flexible Storage Solutions

Bankers Box tax deduction

As your business grows, so does the amount of paper records you may have to store. Your initial consideration may be metal filing cabinets, which are bulky and take up a lot of space. But more importantly steel cabinets aren’t flexible, offering solid but rigid records storage.

With Bankers Box file boxes, you can easily add more boxes as your business grows, move them to back rooms or easily take them to outside storage units without a lot of fuss. As some of your files get outdated, you can easily discard unneeded boxes. The perfect storage solution for any small business and an ideal deductible business cost: Bankers Box Tax Deductions.