Today, paper shredders are a common piece of office and home office equipment. What used to be a piece of office equipment primarily used for military and government agencies, has now trickled down into the small business industry, and is almost necessary for the day to day functions in any office. The privacy concerns of today were almost infeasible eighty years ago when the first model for paper shredders was patented. However, increased government regulations and growing awareness of privacy issues leads many homeowners and business owners with no alternative. When looking for a paper shredder to fit your needs, it is important to know the different types and capabilities, as well as the various security levels, to ensure an appropriate purchase.
The sale of paper shredders in the United States closely correlates to some major government scandals and key privacy legislation. For example, the Watergate Scandal and the Iran-Contra affair both played key roles in a market boost. The Privacy Act of 1974, The Ecology Movement of the 90s, and the HIPAA of 1996 also boosted paper shredder sales in the United States. Today, paper shredders are seeing a major jump in sales due to increased national awareness of identity theft. Current attempts and legislative efforts are placing identity theft and privacy concerns at the forefront of every citizen's mind and encourage businesses to do their fair share in alleviating these concerns.
The military and government agencies have recognized the need of high security paper shredders for decades. Although this equipment was primarily used for government functions in the early stages of development, today commercial businesses account for two thirds of the paper shredder market. Corporations and small businesses are finding that paper shredders satisfy government standards and company policies. Shredders are not only used to protect the companies from outside privacy invaders, but are also used to protect them from the overwhelming prospects of industrial espionage. This year, it is estimated that industrial espionage will account for over $60 billion in losses.
All businesses are bound by several government regulations that are enacted to help protect individuals from the misuse of their private information. These regulations manifest themselves in the form of HIPAA, which protects medical information, and many identity theft standards. HIPAA ensures the proper destruction and privacy protections of medical records and identifying information attached to it. These are national standards to protect the privacy of personal health information. Additionally, the government and business policies have implemented standards to help keep personally identifying information private. This ensures that financial information will remain confidential, as well as social security numbers. Banking documents, loan information, credit card transactions, and much more are destroyed by paper shredders based on this standard of privacy.
There are many different makes and models of paper shredders. However, they can be categorized as strip-cut or cross-cut models. Depending on the type of shredding needed and the security level needed, these models can provide the privacy needed. The strip-cut models are the most common, but least secure. These paper shredders cut the documents into various sized strips, depending on the settings. The cross-cut models have separate shredding capabilities and cut documents into small particles. The cross-cut model is more secure and even has security levels and features amongst the various shredders.
The type of privacy needed and level of security necessary to ensure the proper destruction of a document are key factors when deciding to purchase an appropriate paper shredder. The growing awareness of privacy concerns and the increased government standards create a great need for a paper shredder in any office or business.
Andy West is a writer for iShopShredders.com which offers wide selection of paper shredders and other business products.