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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Four Simple Reasons to Shred and Purge Old Files

It seems every year we promise ourselves we’re going to go through all those old files and shred want we don’t need. Ah yes, the end-of-year shred purge is upon us. The problem is, in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and businesses scurrying to wrap up year-end business, the purge probably won’t happen.

Well, we’re here to help. This won’t buy you any time, but it will at least remind you of why you promised yourself a good purging in the first place. Here are four simple reasons to shred and purge those old files:

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1. You’re wasting too much time looking for files. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. You need a file, and you know you just saw it the other day — and then you spend 20 minutes of your day looking for it. Worse, you’re in the middle of a project, and the boss asks for a certain file. Uh-oh. Now you have to risk not getting your task done on time to go and find that file, while also not revealing to your employer just how disorganized the place has gotten. This is a great reason to shred and purge: To save yourself from this in 2014.

2. Become more paperless. How many of those sheets of paper in and on your desk also reside in your computer as Word, Excel and PowerPoint files? Do you need hard copies as well as digital copies of all those files? If the hard copies contain important notes scribbled in the margins, take a few minutes to type those notes into the digital files. Or simply scan them. If it’s your long-meeting tic-tac-toe games and doodles of Walt Disney characters you can’t part with, take them home and post them on your fridge.

3. Be kind to the environment. All that paper jammed into those boxes and file cabinets used to be trees. It stands to reason that if you have the unwanted files professionally shredded by a provider that recycles, you’re doing the environment a solid. Recycled material can help save trees, yes, but more importantly there are energy and even water savings.

4. So none of those files can “walk away.” Yes, we’re talking about compliance here. If you have sales records for clients lying around for too long, they can fall into the wrong hands. Or what if someone decides to simply throw them away, and they end up blowing out of a dumpster behind the building. This becomes highly critical if your company must maintain HIPAA or other federal compliance. Don’t be the person who gets your boss fined for HIPAA violations to the tune of six figures. That won’t look good in your personnel file — if you would even still have one after that.

So there you have it. Our list isn’t exactly scientific, but there’s at least a measure of common sense that shouldn’t be ignored. Shred. Purge. And then relax and enjoy the holidays.

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